But Moses said to the LORD, "Since I speak with faltering lips, why would Pharaoh listen to me?" - Exodus 6:30
This Torah portion for this week is Va'eira, which means "and I appeared," from Exodus 6:2-9:35, and the Haftorah is from Ezekiel 28:25-29:21.
Have you ever wondered why when God needed a leader unlike any that the world had ever seen, He turned to the verbally challenged Moses? We might have thought that God would have called on someone like a Martin Luther King Jr., who could turn out a passionate speech like "I Have a Dream." Or God could have picked a witty Winston Churchill type or a charismatic John F. Kennedy-like leader. But God turned instead to the humble and meek Moses, who said, "Since I speak with faltering lips, why would Pharaoh listen to me?"
Basically, Moses was saying, "I am totally unfit for this job! I lack the talent and ability to fulfill the mission! Why God would you pick me?" And yet, as so often happens, that is exactly how God works.
Think about it. God chose David, a young shepherd boy who was too small to even wear King Saul's armor, to slaughter the giant Goliath. God chose Joseph, the most hated of his brothers, a slave, and then a prison inmate, to become the Prime Minister of Egypt and provide for his entire family. God chose Jael, a young woman, to slaughter the mighty warrior Sisera when the entire army of Israel had failed to do so. He chose Esther, an orphaned Jewish girl in exile, to become the Queen of Persia and save her people, Israel.
God often chooses individuals who seem the most unlikely candidates to fill the most important roles. He does this because He wants us to know that it's not our talents and abilities that determine the outcomes, but His will and His miracles that bring about salvation. As we read in Zechariah 4:6, "'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty."
In 1948, when the United Nations voted to reinstate the state of Israel, the fledgling country, made up at the time mostly of refugees and Holocaust survivors, was attacked by five organized Arab armies. Yet, Israel was victorious. Israel, the modern-day David, slew the modern-day Goliath. Israel accomplished what no one expected. Everyone predicted a slaughter. They were already digging the graves of the new Israelis. But God's will prevailed, Israel prevailed, and Israel will continue to prevail because of God's will.
I want to encourage us all today not to be intimidated by a task that seems too large. When God calls us to do something, don't look at what you lack. Don't be scared off by what you "can't" do. Through God, we can do anything and be anything. God chooses the willing, not necessarily the able. He has chosen and promoted many imperfect people in the past - and He can choose us, too.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President