Parshat Va’eira: When God speaks

Rabbi Marc Rubenstein
Rabbi Marc Rubenstein. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Rabbi Marc Rubenstein

Special to Valley News

Parshat Va’eira is the 14th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the second in the Book of Exodus. It constitutes Exodus 6:2-9:35.

Moses fled out into the desert to the land of Midian. He was warmly accepted by Jethro, a leader of the Midianites. Moses tended to the Jethro’s sheep, much like his forefathers in the days of Abraham.

Later Moses married Jethro’s daughter Zipporah.

Moses was constantly thinking of his people in Egypt. He felt their misery and pain as if it were his own. One day, lost in thought, Moses was following his sheep in the pasture of Mount Horeb, which is also called Mt Sinai.

Suddenly Moses was drawn to a strange sight. A fire raged all about a small bush, but Moses came close and saw that the bush was not consumed, nor was it harmed in any way. Then Moses listened to the message which God was revealing to him: “I have seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress the children of Israel” God said to Moses from the bush. “Come now, therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh that thou mayest bring forth my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.

“For I will deliver them into a good land, flowing with milk and honey,” he said.

Moses was a modest and humble man. At first, he could hardly believe that God had chosen him for such a great task. But God worked miracles before his eyes and convinced him that the people of Israel would listen to him as their leader.

Because Moses was so modest, he hesitated in his speech; God instructed Moses to take his brother Aaron with him, to act as a representative before the elders of Israel and before the Pharaoh.

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, he had an awesome look in his eyes.

Moses had God’s power flowing through his veins and his life had a new purpose: to lead the Hebrews from slavery to freedom and to lead God’s children to the Promised Land.

God will speak; Moses will do.

In Hebrew, the words “Al Peh Adonai, B’ Yad Moshe” are “From the mouth of God to the hands of Moses.”

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