Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Shmot
To dedicate this lesson

Reluctant Heroes & Jewish History

But is this really Moshe? Does the great defender of Israel – humble as he may surely be – not want to help save Am Yisrael from their dreadful plight?! It almost seems that Moshe is more concerned for himself than for us!

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Rabbi Stewart Weiss

Tevet 19 5782
Moshe, it would seem, has had just about enough. Asked by Hashem to lead the Israelites out of slavery & back to our home in the Land of Israel, Moshe wants to avoid that responsibility in the worst way. And so he incessantly tries to tell G-d that he is absolutely not the right man for the job.

Moshe strenuously protests that he is not a good speaker, as a successful leader must be. Maybe it’s the speech defect, whatever that may have been; or maybe it’s that he is now more comfortable in speaking Egyptian or Midianite – which he has done for more than half a century - rather than the Hebrew dialect of the Israelite slaves.

Moshe also insists that he is certain that the people will not believe he can help them, despite his royal bearing & his seeming ability to move freely in and out of Paro’s palace. Even the "pocket miracles" which Hashem gives to Moshe to impress the people – the water into blood, the stick-becomes-a-snake trick, the leprous hand – fail to convince Moshe that he will succeed in establishing his credentials as a messenger of G-d sent to their rescue.

Finally, in apparent desperation, Moshe throws up his hands & says, "shlach na b’yad tishlach," send whoever you will send. This sounds like the child who keeps nudging his parents over & over again to be allowed a candy snack, until the parents finally give in & say, "fine, eat whatever you want, just leave us alone!"

But is this really Moshe? Does the great defender of Israel – humble as he may surely be – not want to help save Am Yisrael from their dreadful plight?! It almost seems that Moshe is more concerned for himself than for us!

But Pirkei d’Rabi Eliezer explains what is really going on here. Moshe, isn’t evading for evading’s sake. As a prophet, he knows that while he may succeed in extricating the Jews from Egypt, that is not the end of the story. While we will make it to Israel, & build the Bet HaMikdash, it will be destroyed. Exile will result, then returning to Israel & rebuilding, & then more exile. Redemption, alas, is far off.

So Moshe, for our own benefit, says to Hashem: "Please, G-d, don’t send ME - the temporary redeemer – send instead the final redeemer & bring Redemption now!"

But Hashem tells Moshe: "That isn’t how Jewish history works. There will be good times & bad times, successes & failures, triumph & tragedy. You may not be the last hero, but nevertheless you must do your part & fill in your piece of the puzzle. Do not be discouraged, for Redemption will come. But for now, you must do your share. And so, too, must we!
את המידע הדפסתי באמצעות אתר yeshiva.org.il