- Posted by Elaine Zecher
- On June 9, 2017
- 0 Comments
Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings, a weekly reflection as we move toward Shabbat.
Even when someone has a tremendous amount of power, it doesn’t mean he should use it to serve himself.
In this week’s Torah portion and along the journey in the wilderness, Moses had a very specific role: lead the people out of slavery from Egypt to the land of Canaan. He certainly had power and could have used it for his own benefit. Instead, step-by-step, he needed to transform a people raised in slavery to one that could embrace the freedom offered by the guidance of Torah. It was not easy. The people idealized what they had left behind. They imagined a life much better as slaves than as a wandering Jewish people crossing the wilderness to a land of great promise they had only heard of but never experienced.
This situation does not make for smooth leadership. Moses faced crises but did not blame others. To the contrary, in frustration, he cried to the Divine for help. Melodrama may have been involved:
I cannot carry all this people by myself, for it is too much for me. If You would deal thus with me, kill me rather, I beg You, and let me see no more of my wretchedness. (Numbers 11:14)
God responded and told Moses to bring forward the kind of people who could offer wisdom from their own experience, “elders and officers of the people.” Clearly, the family wasn’t invited. What happened next reflected Moses’ leadership and the kind of power he really had. He did not turn his authority into a burden and expect others to protect him.
God explained to Moses what would happen: As you take your place with them, I will come down and speak with you there, and I will draw upon the spirit (ruach) that is on you and put it upon them; they shall share the burden of the people with you, and you shall not bear it alone. (11:17)
Like a candle that lights another and is not diminished, Moses had the capacity to share his power in the form of ruach, his spirit, his inner being and strength. By giving up his power, he actually gained more.
It is a lesson worthy of our attention in our own day. So may it be.
I look forward to greeting you at Qabbalat Shabbat at 6 p.m. Live stream HERE.
Tot Rock Shabbat starts at 5:00 p.m. Riverway’s Soul Food Friday begins at 7:00 p.m. Torah Study with a short service takes place at 9 a.m. There’s lots of wonderful ways to celebrate Shabbat together.
I welcome your thoughts and reflections HERE.