Imagine that you have a goal to achieve, that you work hard to achieve it, and time and time again you fail. And even if you are aware that achieving the goal involves a process and considerable time, and even if you believe that in the end you will succeed, where do you recruit the power to start all over again? At the beginning of the parshah God sends Moses to speak again on his behalf with the children of Israel and inform them that he has heard their groans and intends to release them from the sufferings of Egypt and bring them to the Promised Land. But time and time again he encounters refusal. Moses’ main experienced as it appears in both portions “Va’eyra” and “Shemot” is an experience that his speech is ineffective.
But Moses appealed to the LORD, saying, “The Israelites would not listen to me; how then should Pharaoh heed me, a man of impeded speech!” (Exodus 6:12)
Moses appealed to the LORD, saying, “See, I am of impeded speech; how then should Pharaoh heed me!” (Ex. 6 :30)
What is the meaning of the Hebrew term AREL SEFATAYM, literally,uncircumcised lips? How does it feel to be one who has a severe stutter (speech impediment)? I imagine that it is as if there is some foreskin on the lips, which prevents you from expressing your desire in a clear and communicative way . As if there is a buffer between what you want to express and the way the words come out… As if someone is transmitting signals and there is no reception outside. What could have imprinted such an experience on Moses ? Perhaps the experience of the baby being placed in a closed box on the Nile, in which he could easily have drowned without his voice being heard? How many hours did the baby cry without being heard until Pharaoh’s daughter found him? And when finally, someone heard him and picked him up – this was not the mother he remembered and expected. And when they brought him a “Hebrew nurse” which happen to be his own mother, to breastfeed him, did he recognize the smell of her body? What message went through his body when his own mother became his nurse and another foreign woman became his mother? Could it be that since then a fear of speaking was instilled in him? A fear to sound his voice? Because when he cried nobody heard him, and when finally, he was heard then all his world turned upside down? When an experience is embedded in consciousness it manages it and when a person confronts an experience known and expected in advance – he fulfills his own expectation. Moses’s fear is that they will not listen to him. When driven by the energy of fear — you eventually pull the same energy of the thing you are afraid of, and the fear is fulfilled. (Similar attracts similar). Moses is afraid – but goes and speaks God’s commandments – and God hardens the heart of Pharaoh who does not hear . Moses’ fear is realized in reality. And how does Pharaoh’s lack of listening affect Moses? How might Moses feel when God informs him in advance that he is about to harden Pharaoh’s heart? Does it make it easier for him? Is God trying to teach Moses a lesson of releasing his grip from the result (or at least a quick result) and focusing on the process, along the way?
Seven times he is likely to encounter Pharaoh’s refusal in this Torah portion, and despite the preparation he received in advance, it is not an easy experience . And I ask myself: Is there a connection between the seven refusals that Moses receives from Pharaoh and the seven attempts of Moses, and seven refusals to accept the mission? Does Pharaoh reflect anything to Moses? And also: How might Moses feel about any refusal? Is it a process that strengthens/empowers him or weakens him? Does Pharaoh’s refusal challenge Moses or discourage him? And when the person standing in front of you is a significant authority figure, (Pharaoh was a father / grandfather figure to Moses in the palace) — does his lack of listening have a stronger effect ? And how is it with us? How does a child feel when his father and mother are constantly staring at the screens of their iPhones and not listening to him ? How does a person who is not listened to, feel? When there is no one to listen to you, the words fall silent on your tongue . When someone listens to you – you find words to speak, and when you find words to speak you find clarity, the words themselves float free from narrow places to wider places. May we all merit to be listened to and to listen to other.