- Rabbi Isaac Roussel
The Incomplete Anochi
Our Parsha last week contains the Aseret ha-Dibrot (Ten Commandments). The first commandment is "A-no-chi Adonai e-lo-he-cha a-shayr ho-tzay-ti-cha may-e-retz Mitz-ra-yim mi-bayt a-va-dim"; I am Hashem your God who brought you from the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery.
This by the way this is not the first commandment in the Christian tradition. They consider the first commandment to be "You shall have no other gods before Me" as the first one. This earlier verse is treated as a preamble. But Jewish tradition considers the first commandment to acknowledge Hashem and the fact that He is the one who redeemed them from bondage. Hence Hashem is primarily known as a Redeemer who saves out of grace. I think that the reason this verse gets "demoted" is another example of the church subconsciously "sanitizing" the Scriptures to make the Torah primarily about God and the church rather than God and Israel.
Rabbi Mordechai Yosef Leiner (1800-1854) asked the question why is the word Anochi used here instead of Ani? Both of these words are pronouns referring to I. (There are historical grammatical reasons that there are two versions of this word, but he is going to use this fact to make a drash). He answers his own question. He says that the difference in the spelling of the two words is a letter kaf (aleph-nun-kaf-yud vs. aleph-nun-yud). The letter kaf is used in Hebrew to denote comparison as in "like or as". So Rabbi Leiner says the use of Anochi means "I am as Hashem who brought you out of Egypt..." What does this mean? It means, he states, that the revelation at Sinai was not complete. There is yet more to be revealed in the future.
As Messianic Jews we can see this Anochi of incompleteness pointing forward to the fuller revelation wrought by the coming and teaching Yeshua ha-Mashiach. As the Living Torah, he brings us the fullness of Torah!
But note that Yeshua doesn't abrogate Torah, as is so often taught, rather he brings it to its fullest meaning.
Matan Torah (the giving of the Torah) was indeed a monumental watershed moment is human history; the beginning of God's revelation, establishing Israel as the people to bring His light to the nations of the world. But it is brought into its fullness with the coming of the Messiah.