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Not so glamorous

beyond the veil

It’s hard to believe that Moshe, the greatest man who ever lived had a seven day standoff with Hashem, refusing to take out the Jews from Egypt. I mean, if God came to me and said “I want you to be the redeemer”, I would puff-up my chest and say “bring it on!” But Moshe has this long, drawn-out exchange with Hashem giving reason after reason why he’s not the right guy for the job. His last rebuttal was as follows: “שְׁלַח נָא בְּיַד תִּשְׁלָח”. Rashi brings two explanations for this statement: First, “Send [my brother Aharon, who you usually send as your emissary”. The second one is more peculiar. “Send someone else, because I won’t end up finishing the job, by bringing them into Israel as their redeemer”. (A side question is, how did Moshe know at this point that he won’t bring them into Israel? But that’s for another discussion).

Reb Leibish Hundert commented that this comment from Moshe is so relatable. He was basically saying, “what’s the point in sending me if I’m gonna mess it up anyway?” How many times do we wake up late and say to ourselves, “Oh forget it! I’m not gonna go to minyan or even to my exercise class, because I’ll be late!” Like, if it’s not perfect, why try at all?!

I was thinking today that one of the two lessons that Rebbe Nachman said to never stop reviewing was Tinyana 12, referred to as אַיֵּה. It’s generally understood that the Rebbe held it to be so important because it teaches us that we can find Hashem even in the lowest places, but let’s not forget how the lesson starts: “When someone follows their own cleverness, they can make many bad mistakes…The essence of Judaism is to serve God in simplicity and innocence, without any sophistication. We should simply examine everything we do and determine the following: Will it reveal the Glory of God? It if will, then do it. If it won’t, then don’t.” This simple question is so sharp. It can cut through so many doubts we have, and it’s important to keep it handy. Will [the following action] reveal the Glory of God [or not]? It if will, then do it. If it won’t, then don’t. With this litmus-question, we’re able to easily see through a lot of the stories we tell ourselves. It helps us understand clearly that we should grab every opportunity we have to come closer to Hashem, even if it’s not what we expected or what we had hoped for. This avodah is called בִּתְמִימוּת וּבִפְשִׁיטוּת, serving Hashem with simplicity. I guess it’s possible that Moshe felt that if he would be Hashem’s emissary, God’s glory would not be revealed? But if Moshe, on his awesome level, would have asked himself this question, then maybe he wouldn’t have angered Hashem with his stubbornness?

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