Parsha Shemot

Moshe Rabbeinu is very reluctant to accept the leadership role of Bnei Yisrael. One reason that he mentions in his dialogue with Hashem at the burning bush is that he has a major speech impediment, precluding him from leading Bnei Yisrael. Hashem responds that He will assist Moshe in delivering the messages, and the issue should not concern him.

This raises an interesting question. Why didn’t Hashem just cure Moshe of the speech defect?

The Ramban suggests that had Moshe Rabbenu asked to be cured, Hashem would have healed him. But since he didn’t ask, Hashem refrained from doing so.

The Ran (Derashot HaRan #3) has a different, more compelling perspective. Even though Moshe Rabbenu excelled in certain physical characteristics, Hashem wanted him to retain his speech defect. Why?

Bnei Yisrael were destined to receive the Torah soon after they left Mitzrayim. It was crucial that they believed wholeheartedly that the Torah was the ultimate Divine truth. For this reason, the process of taking Bnei Yisrael out of Mitzrayim involved supernatural miracles, far surpassing anything that could be achieved by the master sorcerers of Egypt.

Similarly, Moshe Rabbeinu, who served as the conduit for the transmission of Torah, was given a speech defect. No one should be able to claim that Bnei Yisrael accepted the Torah due to their leader’s great oratory skills, capable of convincing the masses to follow anything that he suggested. Bnei Yisrael’s acceptance of the Torah, despite Moshe’s speech impediment, was further proof of Bnei Yisrael’s realization that it was G-dly wisdom.

Am Yisrael, throughout the generations, has been blessed with many great leaders. Not all of them possessed great oratory skills, nor the character traits that one would associate with charismatic personalities. But we have been given the ability to discern true Torah giants despite what others might consider to be shortcomings.

There is an additional lesson to be learned from the Ran. No one is perfect, but there are certain defects that are more blatant and debilitating than others. From Moshe Rabbeinu we realize that they are not meant to be an impediment to success, rather they can serve as a stepping stone to greatness.

By: Kayla Wolfson (10th Grade)

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