And I appeared or by its proper Hebrew name Va-eira is probably best known to everyone as the Torah portion where Pharaoh’s heart softens and then hardens while Hashem afflicts the Egyptian populace with plague after plague after plague. Moses and Aaron continue their presence in Pharaoh’s court demanding the end of slavery for the Hebrews, and Hashem in a very indirect way appears and then disappears with the hardening and softening of Pharaoh’s heart. Makes for a great moral lesson tackling ones intent and the motivation for actions emanating from the heart, but Pharaoh is not the only example for this so is Moses.
Va’eira begins with Moses doubting his ability and really not wanting a leadership position, and from what the Torah tells us the Hebrews agreed with Moses. This personality trait of Moses I can relate to in a complete and whole way, because like Moses I have made the same suicidal gestures with my career. On multiple occasions and to different levels of leadership I have made it clear that taking the step into management is not my goal and in so many words something I never plan on pursuing. This is not career suicide but it can be read as a suicidal gesture, in reality the incredibly small increase in pay is just not worth the stress of having to be available around the clock while “parenting” grown adults most of whom are many years older than me, and worse of all terminating the income of someone with children. I like to think this is Moses’s outlook as well besides it is not like there are no other candidates for the position, there is Aaron who becomes the head of the Hebrews 40 years after liberation and we learn later on of other Hebrews who really want the job as well.
Moses is smart enough, educated enough, and a believer enough to know the Hebrews will be set free. . . eventually. He knows it will be a long hard road to lead, move, and settle a new land with a people who have a collective body disfigured with deep scars from generations of slavery. Moses’s life is different than those he is charged to lead he understands more and leads for the greater good not the lesser few. Growing up in the west in a pursuit of wealth driven society it is nice to see that Moses’s lesson on humbleness over power is what makes him the most influential leader to Jews and one of the most influential leaders to all other people.
What does Moses’s reluctance say about Jews today? Are we as human beings scattered across a globe living comfortably under different types of government at odds with the type of character and leadership Hashem would like? Or are we so far removed from the Exodus that model is no longer relevant?
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