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Wednesday, Tevet 16, 5778 / January 3, 2018


In this week's Parsha, S’hmot, we read how G-d revealed Himself to Moshe.  The Torah says, "And Moshe was feeding the flock of Yitro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midyan; and he led the flock to the farthest end of the wilderness and he came to the mountain of G-d, to Horeb.  And G-d’s angel appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and Moshe looked and saw the bush was on fire, but the bush was not consumed.” 


“And Moshe said: I will go closer now and I will see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.  G-d saw that Moshe turned to see, and G-d called to him out of the midst of the bush and He said, 'Moshe, Moshe, and he [Moshe] said, 'Here I am.'  And G-d said, 'remove your shoes from your feet for the place upon which you are standing is holy ground.'" 


G-d then tells Moshe, that He has heard the cry of the Jewish people due to the Egyptians' oppression.  "Therefore now I will send you to Pharaoh so that you may bring forth My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt."


Q.  Why was G-d’s first revelation to Moshe from a bush?


A.  The Midrash tells that a gentile once asked Rabbi Yehoshua ben Karcha, "Why did your G-d speak to Moshe from the midst of a bush and not from a different tree?"


Rabbi Yehoshua answered, "Had He revealed himself from a carob tree, you would have asked the same question: Why that tree and not another one.  However, now that you asked, I will answer you:  G-d wanted to show Moshe that there was no place where He cannot be found and that He rests not only in the tall trees but also in a low bush.


Q.   Why did G-d reveal himself from a “thorn” bush?


A.  Rashi explains that by revealing Himself through a thorn bush, G-d was saying to Moshe that, just as the Jewish people were suffering, He too, is in pain, which is symbolized by the prickly thorn bush.


Q.  Why from a “burning” bush?


A.  G-d’s revelation to Moshe was through a burning bush to show Moshe that just as the fire didn't destroy the bush, so too, the Egyptians will not be able to destroy the Jewish nation.


For thousands of years the Pharaohs of every generation (their names may have changed, but their goals were the same), even to this day, tried to destroy us.  In G-d’s first revelation to Moshe, G-d made it clear that, just as the bush was not consumed by the fire, because G-d was there, so too, the Jewish nation will not be consumed, for G-d is always with us.