Get More Enthusiasm for Your Judaism!
Moshe Our Teacher A’H while tending his Father-in-Law’s flocks encounters a lowly sneh bush that is enveloped in fire but not consumed. Moshe is informed he is seeing a D-vine vision. Whereupon G-D informs Moshe time has arrived for Bene Yisrael’s redemption from Egypt. Further Moshe is called upon to serve as Bene Yisrael’s leader (see Shemot 3:1-10).
Moshe was simply incredulous responding “ . . . Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the people of Israel out of Egypt?” To which the A-mighty replied” . . . Certainly I will be with you; and this shall be a sign to you, that I have sent you; When you have brought forth the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God upon this mountain.” (Shemot 3:11-12). The text on its face is quite realistic. Who would accept national leadership with mere quiet competence, particularly when that leadership role includes serving as the face of a liberation / slave insurrection against Pharaoh the region’s most powerful ruler?
The task before Moshe clearly appears daunting however where did Moshe’s apprehension come from? To suggest Moshe’s qualms were based on concerns for his personal safety would not be consistent with Moshe’s killing the Egyptian (2:11-12) or confronting the shepherds of Midan in defense of Yitro’s daughters (see generally 2:16-20). Moshe’s flight from Egypt (2:15) may be more based on it being untenable for Moshe to remain in Pharaoh’s house when he killed an Egyptian on behalf of a Hebrew slave than running for his life. Rashi ZT’L ZY’A (2:15) as well as the Da’at Zekainim U’Ba’alei Tosefot (ad loc) based on the Jerusalem Talmud Berachot (9:1) point out that whatever Pharaoh efforts to execute Moshe failed. Pharaoh saw he could not kill Moshe therefore, Moshe had no reason to fear Pharaoh. Consequently Moshe’s reluctance to accept G-D’s appointment was not rooted in personal interest.
Rather Moshe’s question was an expression of humility who am I? How am I qualified to lead? Rashi ZT’L ZY’A and Kli Yakar ZT’L ZY’A point out G-D is telling Moshe “I am with you” you are acting on My behalf Pharaoh will be listening to Me not you, I will be leading Bene Yisrael out of Egypt and not you. G-D tells Moshe that he was selected because G-D prefers the humble just as the lowly sneh bush was used presently by G-D. Despite its ostensive inadequacy because it served as G-D’s conduit the sneh could burn and be remain unharmed. The Kli Yakar draws proof for G-D seeking out the humble for leadership from the sign that “ . . . you shall serve God upon this mountain . . . .” Mount Sinai was chosen for the law giving because of its diminutive stature.
Moshe, the Kli Yakar explains had two concerns who was he to speak before Pharaoh? Who was he to represent the holy nation, the Patriarchs’ children ? G-D specifically chose Moshe because of his humility no one would realistically confuse Moshe with an opportunist or other type of rabble rouser but G-D’s true representative. Those who came in to contact with Moshe would see past the man to the who he represents. The Kli Yakar notes the text reads that Moshe was to take Bene Yisrael out of Egypt and not the land of Egypt. The Kli Yakar explains Moshe is being called upon to take the Ben Yisrael out of their adopted Egyptian morals, mores and world view. Moshe calling upon the people to embrace their heritage could not effectively conveyed by someone looking out for their own interest. Indeed it would seem that by psychologically and emotionally leaving Egypt the nation would merit to receive the Torah at Sinai.
Maybe the enduring lesson from this exchange is G-D’s assurance I am with you. How often does one encounter situations demanding leadership for which one feels totally unqualified? Recognize it is Providence that placed one in a particular situation. I am with you ! You are not where you are except as an opportunity to grow, an opportunity to succeed an opportunity to see G-D’s presence. Therefore, knowing I am with you puts ego in its place and empowers one to deal with and overcome all obstacles because one knows he or she is not going it alone. Moshe is being told he is not alone and with that knowledge Moshe can lead.