Exodus 6:2 – 9:35
Most of us have heard it before, especially if we grew up in America:
“If you want the job done right, do it yourself.”
That’s the phrase which describes the independent “can do” spirit of the rugged individualism which permeates American culture. Many of us take pride in that approach.
However, Torah has another idea. To better understand our Jewish “can do” spirit, we need only look at this week’s Torah portion, Va’Era. God has called Moses to action at the Burning Bush, and Moses’ has balked. Among other concerns, Moses has a speech impediment. How could he possibly speak before Pharaoh?
“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘See, I have set you as a god to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother will be your prophet. You it is who will speak all that I charge you and Aaron your brother will speak to Pharaoh …’” [Ex. 7:1-2]
It’s all right there. Moses, the greatest leader our people has ever known, says (I’m paraphrasing here), “The task is too great for me.” God responds (I’m still paraphrasing), “Don’t worry, help is on the way.” Torah does not teach rugged individualism; it inspires us to consider what we can accomplish together. In other words: “If you want the job done right, get help.”
Hi there! I am the senior rabbi at Temple Beth Ami in Rockville, Maryland, where I have served since 2016.
(c) copyright 2018 by Rabbi Gary Pokras