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Moshe in Parshat Vaera

Vaera is the second parsha in Sefer Shmot, and takes place two generations after Jacob went to his ancestral home in Egypt. As the parsha begins, G-d appears to Moshe and urges him to return to Egypt and ask Paroh to allow Bnai Yisrael to go free.

While it might seem counterintuitive for G-d to expect Moshe to be a leader without much prior experience, the parsha provides us with significant insight into the formative power of the experience. That is, G-d specifically chose Moshe to take the lead, affording him the opportunity to become a leader and a leader of his people.

At the beginning of the parsha, G-d introduces himself to Moshe as "I am the G-d of your father, the G-d of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov." This introduction serves not only to reemphasize G-d's promise to Avraham that his descendants would be brought out of slavery, but it also serves as a reminder of Moshe' earlier life with his own father.

Indeed, Moshe grew up in the royal court, surrounded by Paroh's opulent splendor, far removed from his own people. However, with this introduction G-d establishes to Moshe his connection to his minority, impoverished people whom he had left behind.

Rashi, in his commentary to this verse, quotes a midrash about Moshe's reaction to the realization of his identity: "[He] asked with difficulty, 'Am I the son of Avraham, and I have forgotten, or even worse, do I possess all the attributes of his sons?’"

The midrash clearly implies that Moshe had suppressed his own heritage and denied his true identity, however G-d's introduction to Moshe served as a reminder of his true identity, shedding light on the purpose for which he was chosen to lead.

When G-d instructed Moshe to go speak to Paroh, he presented Moshe with an opportunity to take up the task of leadership that he had kept hidden since childhood.

In fact, it is precisely because of this formative experience that G-d is confident that Moshe will serve as a leader, despite his lack of prior experience. By acknowledging Moshe' identity, G-d is instilling in him the courage and strength to step up and succeed.

This lesson can, of course, be applied to all of us today. When we take the time to confront the vestiges of the past, we open our hearts and become equipped to rise and be leaders. We should take this powerful message to heart, and take up the same mantle of leadership which Moshe did, and thus reach our full potential in life.



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