Super Human

Categories: Parsha, Va'eira

Art by Yitzchok Schmukler

So Moses returns to Egypt as commanded by G-d in last week’s Parsha; he continues to fulfill his mission to redeem the Jewish people from slavery. But before we delve into that the Torah stops; it pauses and tells us the genealogy of the players at hand in this week’s Parsha (Va’era), namely Moses and Aaron. Why? Why the need to break from the narrative to give us their background? Plus, not that many generations have transpired—we can trace his family line back to the Tribe of Levite—why pause here? The answer teaches us a timeless lesson about Moses. Here’s a man about to show superhuman leadership qualities. He is going to rise up, from a somewhat humble background, to go head to head with a world leader – and win! He would then be going on to become the quintessential leader of the Jewish People in every sense of the word. This is not some regular guy, this isn’t someone like you or me, this is something altogether different. He is almost otherworldly! And yet, the Torah stops to give his background to teach us something essential: He was human. He was a man born to a mother like any one of us. Did he rise up to do some amazing things? Certainly. But let us not shirk any of our responsibilities by thinking that the accomplishments of Moses are applicable to only certain special people. They are available to all of us. Because, like all of us, Moses was human. We sometimes look up to folks and move past the point of mentorship to practically idolize such people, but we must stop to realize that every person, regardless of how special or gifted or brilliant or talented, is human. Being human certainly comes with its flaws by the very nature of it, so we must factor that in, regardless of how perfect he or she may appear. I saw something the other day where a certain athlete who has had his share of struggles on and off the field (but mostly off) had yet another very public struggle. A family member apologized for him and to “all those, especially kids, who looked up to him.” An athlete is an easy example. We can admire his athleticism; if he or she happens to be a good person too, that’s all the better. But we’re all human. We were born like everyone else and are therefore subject to the same idiosyncrasies and challenges. That awareness will allow us to take only the good from those we admire in whatever field, but to look only to G-d for the ultimate accountability. Good Shabbos!

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