|Life Lessons From Moshe, Our Teacher|
|Written by The Heileger Chana Chaya|
The lives of our Patriarchs are often a model for how we should act, and for who we can be. So it is with Moshe Rabbeinu…
There are life lessons that I learn from the life of Moshe Rabbeinu that I could apply to my own life.
Ø That great success is reachable (with the help of the Almighty)
· Moshe succeeded, with God’s help, in freeing the Jewish people from Egyptian bondage (Even if it was God who put them there in the first place.)
· Moshe succeeded, with God’s help, in leading the Jews across the Red Sea.
· Moshe, with God’s help, lead the Jews to the most important moment in history:
o to the moment when the whole world began to know that there is God;
o to the moment when, we, the Jewish people, learned that we are a chosen people and the huge responsibility of that position.
· Moshe succeeded, with God’s help, in bringing down bread from Heaven and getting water from a rock.
· Moshe, with God’s help, succeeded in leading the Jews to the entrance of the Holy Land.
We learn from Moshe that we can do great things, things that now seem impossible, with the help of the Almighty.
Ø That there are what appear to be failures, personal failures, and personal frustrations, that we do not understand and perhaps, never will,
… And that frustration was a part of the life of Moshe, as well.
· We see the frustration of Moshe not being believed when he tells the Jews that God has sent him (Don’t we all feel great pain when not believed, especially, when we are so filled with truth?)
· Moshe brought the Israelites all the way to Sinai as their leader, their teacher, and their caretaker. He taught them the ways of the Almighty and that God is there for them. Imagine his frustration at coming down to see that they had built and were worshipping a Golden Calf
· The pain of having the very people whom he represented, whom he carried “in his bosom as a nurse carries an infant” now destined to die in the desert, (Imagine spending days and nights with a group and then having them all die…)
· Moshe was married to a beautiful woman whom he loved. Imagine having to separate from her because of his job leading the people.
· Imagine trying to help everyone and then being the object of envy in the camp
· Imagine what it was like for Moshe having children who do not follow in his footsteps of leadership or observance.
· Imagine having the ability and the wonder of performing miracle upon miracle and then … one of those miracles, being the cause of it all ending…. the cause of his not fulfilling his life dream of entering the promised land, the land which he aspired to for years and years … all because he did not perform a miracle correctly. After all, weren’t there were so many miracles that he did perfectly?
· Imagine having a life dream of seeing the land and then the frustration of not being allowed to enter it with everyone else.
God gave all those frustrations to Moshe. But God also loved Moshe like no other prophet. That means to me that the frustrations which we experience that may not even be as great as those of Moshe, are also from a loving God.
That he asked, he argued and he even said “No” to God:
· Moshe actually turned down God Almighty when first told he had the job of leading Israel. Had anyone done that ever before him?
· Then God told Moshe that He was going to destroy this people because of the Golden Calf. Moshe responds that he would rather be taken out of the book. He wants no part of such a Torah.
· And Moshe even argued with God, telling Him that His plan was so bad that it would ruin His reputation, that no one would believe in a god who liberated in order to destroy, and whose promises were lies.
· And Moshe even requests to see God’s glory - to see His essence and to understand. He asked that of God and was turned down.
I think Moshe was the first and maybe the last to say “No” to the Almighty. Does it give a pathway to us to do the same when we feel something is not right for us? From Moshe’s story also I get that God is here for me to ask for, to cry to, to argue with and even to say “no.” And even then, God will still be there for me and help me get through those tough times, just as I learned that he did for Moshe Rabbeinu.
Ø I learn from Moshe that I can be joyous no matter how frustrating my life feels… for a prophet is required to be happy in order to speak with the Almighty.
So it must be that Moshe, our teacher was happy, or God would not have spoken with him face to face.
Ø I see Moshe as a model of standing up for others:
Moshe became the model of intervening to save the innocent whenever they were threatened – the model of protecting others from harsh judgment by pleading their case
· Moshe endangered himself to save another’s life - and later even demanded that G-d take his life, in defense of the nation.
· Moshe fought hostile shepherds to save Yisro’s daughters.
· Moshe pleaded with God for the lives of the Golden Calf-builders, and the Spies, and the water-complainers, and for each of his people.
· Moshe sat as a judge from morning to evening to make sure each person was heard and had justice.
· Moshe gave up a personal life, personal pride, personal ownership, personal relationship, and even eventually, his own leadership role to serve his nation.
I cannot even touch upon following such a model. I can only learn about it and hope to be influenced by the example.
Ø That sometimes it is better to not be too proud:
· Moshe took mistreatment from Pharoah and also from his own people. Don’t know which was worse. He cared so much that being too proud was not an issue.
· Moshe went to Dasan and Aviram to ask them for a meeting so that he may make peace when they joined Korach’s rebellion, rather than demanding that they come to him. And on top of that, they refused to meet with him.
· Moshe was told by God that he will not enter Israel and instead will die. Even hearing that he acted with caring, advising another leader, training him, with the same loyalty and devotion that he did everything else.
Ø That no matter how good I become that I do not have any abilities that were not granted to me by God
For Moshe knew his own greatness which surpassed that of all men, yet he always kept in mind that the qualities he possessed were given to him by God.
Ø I learn from Moshe to expect that roles in life change
· Moshe went from being a prince to being a fugitive, to being a shepherd, to being a leader of millions, bringing them from slavery to freedom, from the depths of an Egypt to the height of our Torah.
· Moshe spoke face to face with God and there was no prophet that could come close to his achievements.
But just the same, Moshe Rabbeinu is authentic. He is human and we can learn from what he did and from who he became.
Moshe Rabbeinu was our teacher and continues to teach us as we learn each word of our Holy Torah. We learn who he was and we have the example of who we can be in the world.
Copyright ©Chana Klein 2011