Why Moshe? by Barry Bleichman


         Why did Hashem pick Moshe to lead the Jews out of Egypt?  What special characteristics did Moshe have which made him the right man for this job?  One quality which Moshe had was the sensitivity to be concerned about others.  The Torah mentions that when Moshe was a young man, he went out to see the burdens of the Jews (שמות ב':י"א).  Rashi (שם בד"ה וירא) comments that Moshe was sympathizing with the Jews.  Even though Moshe was brought up in a palace, he still sympathized with the Jews who were slaves.  When he displayed this sympathy, he showed how he cared for others.  When he later became a shepherd for Yisro, the same exact quality was shown.  The Midrash in Shemos Rabbah (פרשה ב' סימן ג') says that Moshe chased after any sheep that strayed from the grazing area.  He was thus concerned for people and for animals as well.

            It is interesting to note that there were other Jewish leaders, such as Dovid  HaMelech, who started out as shepherds.  Chazal say that when Dovid was a shepherd, he always made sure that the smaller sheep grazed first.  Hashem thought that Dovid was the right man to lead the Jews because he cared for even the smaller creatures.  In more modern times, Rav Yisrael Salanter was also known to display concern for others.  The story is told that when he was walking to Shul once on Yom Kippur night, he heard a baby crying in a certain house.  When he checked the house and found out that the baby was home alone, instead of going to Shul on time, he stayed with the baby until the baby was asleep.  Even though Rav Yisrael Salanter was a great Talmid Chochom, he never felt that taking care of a baby was beneath him.

            Moshe was also famous for being modest.  Only after being asked a few times by Hashem did Moshe finally agree to be the leader of the Jews.  Instead of jumping at this opportunity, he refused at first.  Because Moshe was modest and not arrogant, Hashem picked him as a leader.  Again in more modern times, Rabbi Akiva Eiger and Rav Yaakov of Lisa were also well known for displaying modesty.  They once displayed their modesty on the way to a town when they were going together by coach.  As they approached the town, they saw a large crowd of Jews waiting to greet them.  Rabbi Akiva Eiger thought they wanted to honor Rav Yaakov and ran out to push the coach in order to make it go faster.  Rav Yaakov thought that the honor wasn't for him, and he too started pushing.  The people in the crowd were surprised when they saw the two rabbis pushing the coach, but when they found out that each rabbi thought that the other deserved the respect, they respected them even more than they did before.  We thus see that sensitivity and modesty are two qualities which Moshe Rabbeinu had, and which we too should try and display at all times, as did our other great leaders.

Moshe Saw Their Suffering by Mordy Friedman

Moshe and Har Sinai by Jeremy Hanauer