Perashat Vaera – A Real Politician


Perashat Vaera – A Real Politician

Moshe Rabienu says to G-d: The people of Israel have not listened to me, How will Paroh Listen? And I am an Arel Sefataim – bad at speaking.

There are at least two explanations to the words Arel Sefataim. The first is that he had a physical inability to speak. Perhaps he stuttered or lisped. Most have heard the story that when Moshe was a young child he swallowed a piece of coal while being tested by Paroh. From the burn Moshe had a permanent speech impediment.

Others interpret the Pasuk to mean that he was not an eloquent speaker. Moshe was humble so he felt that his articulation would not attract people. He was not confident that he could speak in a public place in front of Paroh.

Either way you look at it is it not incredible that G-d chose as his messenger a guy who could not speak? Why then did G-d choose him.

Luckily for the Jewish people Moshe did not need to be elected. He did not have what it takes to even be elected to congress for a two year term.

G-d’s decision to have Moshe lead the Jewish people was not based on our vain method of choosing leaders. In Perashat Shemot the Torah introduces us to Moshe Rabeinu.

We are told three stories. These are famous stories. The first is that Moshe killed an Egyptian who was beating up a Jew. The second told us about how he intervened in a fight between two Jews. The third told us about how he protected Midianite girls from the shepherds who were trying to chase them away from the well.

It is clear that G-d’s requirements for a leader are that he must be kind and just. These three stories show us that Moshe not only felt that it is wrong for a gentile to beat a Jew but that it is wrong for two Jews to wrong each other. Not only that but even when idolatrous gentiles are taking advantage of the defenseless it is proper to come to their aid.

This feeling for justice overshadows any of the empty criteria which we insist that our leaders must have.

If we say that Moshe was simply not a great orator than we must realize that he could not win a debate. Perhaps if he was around today he would become nothing more than a clerk. We have to change our vain way of choosing leaders.

I hope that we can overcome the American inside of us and choose leaders with admirable qualities.