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Ben-Tzion Spitz
Ben-Tzion Spitz
Former Chief Rabbi of Uruguay

Unhumble Abdication (Shmot)

The ability to accept responsibility is the measure of the man. -Roy L. Hunt

Moses encounters God for the first time at the Burning Bush. God calls out to him “Moses, Moses.” Moses responds, “I am here,” (Hineni). The Chidushei HaRim on Exodus 3:4 quotes a fascinating Midrash where Moses is responding to the double call by stating “I am here for the call of kingship, I am here for the call of priesthood.” Moses is stating his readiness to accept the roles that God has in store for him (though he does unsuccessfully attempt to get out of confronting Pharaoh later).

The Midrash contrasts Moses’ willingness to accept the tasks God is bequeathing versus Saul’s reticence when he was sought for the kingship. When the prophet Samuel is looking to coronate Saul as King, Saul goes to hide. The Chidushei HaRim ironically looks at Saul’s apparent humility as exactly the opposite – he sees it as a type of arrogance. If God has a job for you, who do you think you are to decline the job? Are you saying you know better than God? Are you saying that God made a mistake? That is what’s implied by Saul’s initial rejection of kingship. It’s not a show of humility but rather the greatest arrogance possible to think one knows better than God.

Moses, on the other hand, at the encounter at the Burning Bush differs from Saul and steps forward. He states “I am here, God, and ready to undertake the missions you ask me to.” Nonetheless, Moses is perhaps the person who argues the most with God and his arguments typically call on God’s mercy. God often does demonstrate mercy, implying that man has the ability to pray to God with an expectation that his prayers can be answered and God’s apparent initial plans can be adjusted and changed.

However, when it comes to a calling, to a mission, to a need of the nation, it behooves the one being called to answer and not hide.

May we know to step up when called upon.

Shabbat Shalom,

Ben-Tzion

Dedication

To the 27,050 new immigrants that arrived in Israel in 2021 (including 4,000 from the US – the highest number since 1973).

About the Author
Ben-Tzion Spitz is the former Chief Rabbi of Uruguay and a candidate for the Knesset for the Zehut party. He is the author of three books of Biblical Fiction and hundreds of articles and stories dealing with biblical themes. Ben-Tzion is a graduate of Yeshiva University and received his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University.
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