Fulfilling Our God-given Role

Yael Eckstein  |  January 12, 2021

Pharaoh Cobra Headdress | Be a Staff, Not a Snake, Exodus 7:9
Engraving by Gustave Dore (1832 – 1883) Moses casts down his staff before the Pharaoh and the staff becomes a serpent. Exodus 7 illustration was published in "bible or books of new testament and old testament"(1875) scan by Ivan Burmistrov

It was this Aaron and Moses to whom the LORD said, “Bring the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions.” They were the ones who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt about bringing the Israelites out of Egypt—this same Moses and Aaron. — Exodus 6:26-27

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Va’era, which means “and I appeared,” from Exodus 6:2–9:35.

There is an old Jewish tale about a renowned rabbi who wanted to know who his neighbor would be in heaven. After much fasting and prayer, the rabbi was granted his wish in the form of a dream that revealed to him that his neighbor in the afterlife would be the town’s butcher.

At first, the rabbi dismissed the dream as nonsense because the butcher was a simple man, unlike the rabbi, who was a holy scholar. However, the dream repeated until the rabbi was convinced that it was true. He decided to get to know the butcher and discovered a man who was unusually kind and charitable — truly a worthy neighbor for eternity.

We all come to the world with a life’s purpose and mission. But it’s not the size of the mission that determines the true greatness of the man. Rather, it’s the size of the man that determines the greatness of his mission.

Fulfilling Our God-Given Role

In this week’s Torah portion, we read about Moses and Aaron, two brothers who lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Interestingly, in Exodus 6:26-27, Scripture places Aaron’s name before Moses’ name, but then reverses the order, placing Moses before Aaron. The Jewish sages explained that this reversal is intended to teach us that although Moses had a larger role then Aaron, both men fulfilled their God-given missions and were equal in their greatness.

Everyone is sent into the world with a role to play — some large and some small. Some people are called to be great leaders and others are called to be chimneysweepers. But it doesn’t matter what our job in this world is. It’s how we do it and how we treat others in the process that determines our greatness in the eyes of God.

The Jewish sages taught: “There is nothing more beloved to God than a person who puts all of his heart and soul into fulfilling his mission.” It doesn’t matter if you were put here to run a Forbes 500 company or to run a household. When you happily fulfill your God-given role in the best way that you possibly can, you achieve greatness in life and earn your place in heaven.

Your Turn:

In what ways are you fulfilling your God given role? How can you do your job (or jobs) with more joy, enthusiasm, or kindness?

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