May 29, 2017 ~ Shabbat NASO. Maqam SABA.

Shabbat Vaera

The Shepherd

וינהג את הצאן אחר המדבר - Long before he was the famous leader of Israel, Moses was just a simple shepherd. If so, what made him uniquely qualified to lead? After all, he admits that he lacked charisma (ואני ערל שפתים), and correctly predicts that no one would listen to his messages (ולא שמעו אל משה מקצר רוח ומעבדה קשה)! Despite this, God insists on Moses due to his empathy for others. A shepherd's role is to make sure that no sheep goes off the path or gets lost. This is exactly how Moses took care of his people for 40 years in the wilderness. He cared so much for each person and made sure that everyone was "on the right path;" both literally and figuratively. Prior to his departure (Numbers 27:17), Moses begs God not to leave the community "like sheep without a shepherd" (ולא תהיה עדת ה׳ כצאן אשר אין להם רעה). This comparison best describes the close relationship between Moses and his people (Beth Torah, 1/28/17).