Linking the Generations - Va-eira; Exodus 6:2−9:35
I (God) Appeared [to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob]
God spoke to Moses and said to him, "I am the Eternal."
The Importance of a Tiny Bush ...
This week brings us many vivid stories from the Passover narrative. In previous weeks we looked at the early life of Moses and a shift the Hebrews faced from an accepted group descended from a respected family (Jacob, Joseph and his brothers) – to a group that was feared and persecuted.
In the next part of the saga we read about the next phase of the life of Moses, after he is cast out of his favored position as a prince of Egypt. In this part of our exodus narrative, we experience God speaking to Moses, not as an Angel but as God. From the famous "burning bush” God speaks to Moses and tells him what he must do to liberate the Hebrews from bondage.
If you had a chance to walk by the APR this week, you may have noticed images of the burning bush all around the room. In fact, the first theme we looked at was the ability to "notice” things in the world around you. The rabbis often speak of this encounter with the bush that burned but was "not consumed” as an example of the patience and awareness Moses possessed. Some would say it was this attribute that drew Moses to God’s attention to take on this special role in our history. Moses noticed injustice when he defended a Hebrew from being beaten by an Egyptian taskmaster. Moses could have walked right by this ordinary bush, but was so aware of his surroundings that he noticed this peculiar bush was on fire, but was not consumed by it. The value of awareness – to see injustice, to pick up on the sadness or fear in others, to see the holiness in the ordinary – this is one of the values we can glean from Moses’ encounter with this bush.
In another sense, this encounter was also about a conversation. In many ways this is the first real conversation between a human and God. We asked our fourth and fifth grade students to be mindful of that and to think about their own conversations with God – to not ask for things, but to be thankful, to seek inspiration, to seek guidance and understanding.
From a story about a small bush in the desert – we learn about patience and awareness - and we learn about what it can mean to have a real conversation with God. A more important bush there may never have been.
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