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Our family and millions of people around the world are in the midst of the Passover holyday, recalling Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. Amazingly, one incident came close to jeopardizing the whole enterprise.
Just before Moses and Aaron confront Pharaoh, God threatens Moses for neglecting to circumcise his son. Had Moses’ wife, Tziporah, not intervened, God would have terminated Moses’ career. (Exodus 4:24-26) What is going on?
We get a clue from the language used in and around this event:
…the Lord met him (Moses)
… (Aaron) go into the desert to meet Moses…
While there are a number of Hebrew words throughout the Bible that translate in English as, “meet,” the specific root word used here is P-G-SH. One of the tools for understanding Scripture is to note when a Hebrew word is rarely used. In those cases, we should look for similarities in the unusual appearances. P-G-SH appears only four times in the Five Books of Moses. We see it twice in our instance in Exodus and twice while Jacob is on his way to meet his brother Esau.
…when Esau my brother meets you…
…what did you intend by that whole camp that I met…
Thus the word P-G-SH (meet) appears in only two stories in the Torah, both of which involve a man (Jacob/Moses) on a mission, traveling with his entire family, leaving his father-in-law (Lavan/Yitro). In the midst of the journey, each man encounters a Divine being who presents a mortal threat. (In Jacob’s case, he meets the angel with whom he wrestles, Genesis 32:25-33)
Ancient Jewish wisdom tells us that Jacob did not leave Lavan’s house as promptly as he should have, to some degree from fear at confronting the terrifying Esau. Similarly, Moses, on his way to confront a frightening Pharaoh, made an unnecessary stop at a hotel. (Exodus 4:24) Even though God had promised His protection, both men delayed approaching their destiny partially out of fear of a scary personality. In each case, they end up in a life-threatening situation. The lesson to us is clear: Despite our fears, avoiding our life purpose and destiny is more dangerous than meeting it head on.
You or I may not be on the level of Jacob or Moses. God may speak to us more subtly and our missions may be on a smaller scale. Yet each and every one of us has a purpose in life, the reason for which God put us on this earth. Invariably, we face formidable challenges on our road to accomplishment. Intimidating people often stand in our way, telling us we are foolish for following our path or even threatening us if we continue to move forward. The instances with Jacob and Moses remind us that when we have a mission to do, we should unhesitatingly race past all obstacles to do it. Like all else in Scripture, the details of the stories and the specific words used serve as blueprints for enhancing our lives, encouraging us to courageously meet our own destinies.
We strive to transmit these and dozens of other powerful and effective principles for improving your life in our audio CDs, DVD and books. Our goal is to provide access to ancient Jewish wisdom to enrich your faith, family and fortune. During this Passover week, we are offering both our Complete Library Pack and our Complete Library Pack Plus for an additional 10% off the already deeply discounted prices. Now, as we end the first quarter of 2013, is a really good time to equip yourself and those you love with this priceless wisdom.
Read the most recent Ask the Rabbi question and answer here
Why are we all made so uneven? Some are born into affluence and some into poverty. Some are born into health some into misery. Some are born in America, with all its advantages, some into primitive tribes.
Well you get the idea. Some people believe this unevenness can be blamed on some evil thing the infant does. This doesn’t seem right to me. Some believe this can be blamed on what some ancestor did. This doesn’t seem right either. How can all this be the result of a benevolent and omnipotent Creator?
Read Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin’s ANSWER HERE
This week’s Susan’s Musings: Lark Rise
Over the past few months, I’ve been watching a BBC series called Lark Rise to Candleford. I admit to being a sucker for the British accents, the clothing and the setting, a pastoral part of northern England in pre-World War I days.
Two of the recurring characters are cousins; women who made different life choices. One, the postmistress, is an outspoken spinster…READ MORE