Va’era: A leading man

moses water out of rock“The Israelites would not listen to me, how then should Pharaoh heed me, a man of uncircumcised lips” (Ex 611):

Moses realized that the people whom he had just been assigned to lead wouldn’t listen to him. The whole promise that God had told Moses to bring about – bring the people out of slavery – got   worse than no response from the people. They flat out wouldn’t listen at all; it was an active disregard for his message.

We see how Moses’ self-identity is dependent on whether people listen to him, follow him, believe in him. But how to be a prophet when no one will hear your prophecy? How to be a leader if no one follows?

There are others in this story with self-identity issues. Who are the people if they end up forever in slavery, scattered amongst a majority?  Who is Aaron, the second in command, if there is no first in command, no one whose orders to carry out? And who is God, if the people God’s chosen to lead to freedom via Moses, won’t go, won’t fulfill the promise God made?

Moses is a reluctant leader. He turned God down several times, and at the first moment of resistance from the people he’s supposed to lead, he is filled with self-doubt. His identity as a leader is rocky, to be sure.  He loses his temper. But he defends the people to God. He explodes with resentment at his situation, but mourns the fact that he won’t go into the Land with the people.

A strong self-identity can both make a leader immune to wise advice, yet have the strength to carry on even if others don’t agree with them.  A leader has to balance both the will of the people to get them to follow, but also has to have the vision that the people may not be able to see clearly. So where’s the balance?

I’m not sure, as I write this. It’s a topic that requires chapters and chapters of other people’s research. But I know that, with all his doubts and uncertainties, Moses became the leader the people needed. He believed God knew what God was doing in choosing him. He took the people into his heart and had their needs at the front of his own heart. He relied on his brother and his sister, and his father-in-law, taking advice from those he needed to hear. Let’s keep our eyes and hearts open to the leader we need now.

 

 

“The Israelites would not listen to me, how then should Pharaoh heed me, a man of uncircumcised lips” (Ex 611):

 

Moses realized that the people whom he had just been assigned to lead wouldn’t listen to him. The whole promise that God had told Moses to bring about – bring the people out of slavery – got   worse than no response from the people. They flat out wouldn’t listen at all; it was an active disregard for his message.

 

We see how Moses’ self-identity is dependent on whether people listen to him, follow him, believe in him. But how to be a prophet when no one will hear your prophecy? How to be a leader if no one follows?

 

There are others in this story with self-identity issues. Who are the people if they end up forever in slavery, scattered amongst a majority?  Who is Aaron, the second in command, if there is no first in command, no one whose orders to carry out? And who is God, if the people God’s chosen to lead to freedom via Moses, won’t go, won’t fulfill the promise God made?

 

Moses is a reluctant leader. He turned God down several times, and at the first moment of resistance from the people he’s supposed to lead, he is filled with self-doubt. His identity as a leader is rocky, to be sure.  He loses his temper. But he defends the people to God. He explodes with resentment at his situation, but mourns the fact that he won’t go into the Land with the people.

 

A strong self-identity can both make a leader immune to wise advice, yet have the strength to carry on even if others don’t agree with them.  A leader has to balance both the will of the people to get them to follow, but also has to have the vision that the people may not be able to see clearly. So where’s the balance?

 

I’m not sure, as I write this. It’s a topic that requires chapters and chapters of other people’s research. But I know that, with all his doubts and uncertainties, Moses became the leader the people needed. He believed God knew what God was doing in choosing him. He took the people into his heart and had their needs at the front of his own heart. He relied on his brother and his sister, and his father-in-law, taking advice from those he needed to hear. Let’s keep our eyes and hearts open to the leader we need now.

 

 

 

This entry was posted in Shabbat musings and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s