Midreshet Amit


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By: Mrs. Naomi Schraeger

In this week’s Parsha we meet Moshe Rabbeinu- quite arguably the main character of the Torah for the last 4 sefarim (second of course to Hashem!) In the early episodes of his life story, we read as Moshe progresses from a passive infant, to a strong actor who grapples with the injustices around him. In three instances Moshe made decisions which put him at odds with the ethos of his time- killing an Egytian task master, intervening to break up a fight between slaves, and saving defenseless girls at a well. The man I just described seems like someone who would perfectly fit the bill to be the savior of the Jewish people. The champion of the underdog with the moral conviction to accomplish a great deal. It is therefore no surprise when Hashem appears to Moshe to present him with his task- go back to Egypt and save the Jewish people. What is surprising, however, is Moshe’s reluctance. We would have expected Moshe to jump at the chance to help an oppressed people. Instead, he consistently questions Hashem’s choice in picking him insisting that there is a better candidate for the job. What happened to our vigilante of justice? The commentaries point out that Moshe was not unwilling to do the job; rather he was not entirely convinced that he could adequately perform the task as Hashem’s representative. Because of his extreme humility, he could not see himself as the savior of an entire people. But ultimately, we know that Moshe does accept the mantle of leadership and successfully represents Hashem to both the Jewish People and Pharaoh. When Hashem first appears to Moshe at the burning bush, the verse tells us that Moshe turned to see what was going on, and that Hashem took notice of Moshe taking notice. That was the pivotal moment in Moshe’s life. He veered from his normal path and acted based on what he saw. This is the same quality that allowed him to take note when a Hebrew slave was being beaten, or when innocent young girls were being harassed. When Moshe saw something strange or out of line happening, he couldn’t continue on his path. He needed to check it out. When he expressed to Hashem that he didn’t know if he was the right person for the job, he may have been asking for a confidence boost, or some assurance. But I don’t believe he was considering turning down the job. Moshe realized at the burning bush that he had a role to play in the events that were beginning to unfold.

When we see something which doesn’t sit right with us, we have a duty to check it out. We can choose to pass by and hope someone else will come along, but we shouldn’t. As with Moshe, we can insist that there is a better person for the job, someone else who could accomplish the goal. We can always come up with excuses. But if it is my opportunity to make a difference, my turn to influence the course of events and I don’t, then I have not realized my potential. If Moshe had decided to walk away from the burning bush, he would never have been Moshe Rabbeinu. He may have lived a very nice quiet life, but he certainly would not have lived up to his full potential. We should all learn from Moshe’s example and actively pursue opportunities to help when they come to us. Even if someone else could do it better, if the opportunity comes to ME, then I should take advantage.