Jeopardy answer: “A solid week!”
Question: “How long did it take God to convince Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery?”
It’s clear in this week’s Torah portion, Shemot, that Moses was reluctant to lead his people. The Rabbis suggest various reasons–that he didn’t want to hurt or anger his older brother, Aaron, who had been leading them in Egypt for 80 years, or that he was truly humble.
Rabbi Nehori (2nd cent C.E.) decided that, for Moses, the task was impossible: how do you expect me to take care of this whole community? How shall I shelter them from the heat of summer sun or cold of winter? Where shall I find food and drink? Who will care for the newborn babies and pregnant women?
Time magazine last month made those that cared for the Ebola sufferers–those that put aside their doubts and skepticism that anything could be done, and risked their lives to help others–Their People of the Year.
I would imagine these challenges Rabbi Nehori puts in Moses’ mouth where in their minds, as well. And reading of their exploits was truly inspiring.
When catastrophe strikes, I wonder where those that respond get their resolve. How insurmountable tasks get attacked. How there could be people who put reality aside and take care of business.
But then I think of people who don’t need major catastrophes to complicate their lives: parents of challenging kids, friends and relatives of the sick, teachers who face crowded classrooms of unenthusiastic students, children caring for aging parents, and all those who, daily, face difficult and seemingly insurmountable tasks.
These are the true heroes. But, unlike Moses, they weren’t given a choice.
Rather, they know that if they didn’t take care of business, who will?
-Rabbi David Vorspan, Rabbi-in-Residence