Saturday 16th January 2021 3rd Shevat 5781
Parashat Shemot (שמות | Names) FFOZ
Torah: Exo 1:1-6:1; Haftarah: Isa 27:6-28:13, 29:22-23; Gospel: Matt 2:1-12
When Moses got up that morning and counted the sheep, he did not say to himself, “I think I’ll take the sheep out on the west side of the wilderness over by the Mountain of God.” Mount Horeb was simply Mount Horeb, an indistinct rock in the wilderness like so many other hills and mountains, completely ordinary looking. There was nothing special about it. Mount Horeb became Mount Sinai, the mountain of God, simply because God chose it, not because it was taller, mightier or holier than any of the surrounding hills and mountains. In a similar way, Moses became Moses, the Man of God because God called him, encountered him and commissioned him, not because he was more pious, mightier, smarter or more eloquent than other men. God is in the ordinary, and encounters with God happen in ordinary places. But when God is encountered, the ordinary is immediately transformed into the extraordinary. The very ordinary Mount Horeb was transformed into the extraordinary, Mount Sinai because of God’s presence was there. The very ordinary Moses, a simple Hebrew exile from Egypt, a shepherd in the wilderness, was transformed into Moses the Man of God, the greatest prophet of all time because he encountered God. God transformed the ordinary man into something extraordinary. Most of us do not regard ourselves as extraordinary people. You probably think of yourself as a fairly ordinary person with a fairly mundane life. From God’s perspective, that is perfect. You are the perfect person with whom He can do extraordinary things. He is not looking for prophets; He is looking for normal people who are carrying on under normal circumstances.
When Moses saw the burning bush, he turned aside to investigate. Only then did the Holy One reveal Himself to Moses. Our problem is that we do not take the time to turn aside and investigate. We all intend to grow spiritually. We all imagine that one day, we will take time to study, take time to grow in Torah, to do a mitzvah, to pray regularly. But you can’t take good intentions to the grave.
A famous rabbi once said, “Do not say to yourself, ‘When I have more time, I will study Torah. Perhaps you will not have more time'" (m.Avot 2:4)
Do not say, when I have more time, I will turn aside.