Faith is the Cure

First posted on The Times of Israel at:

Baal Haturim Exodus: Vaera

Faith is the Cure

The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness and human responsibility. -Vaclav Havel

The greatest, most powerful, most important orator in Jewish history, Moses, started off with some type of speech impediment. Commentators have a variety of opinions as to exactly what the problem was, but one thing that is abundantly clear is that Moses had no desire to speak publicly. He was so perturbed by his condition that he was willing to argue with God Himself to be spared from being the divine spokesman.

God berates Moses and asks him who he thinks gives man the capacity to speak in the first place? God seems particularly harsh with Moses on this count. The question is why does God give Moses such a hard time on an issue that anyone who has ever felt discomfort or even sheer terror in front of an audience can appreciate? Why was God so demanding, even insistent that this poor, speech-challenged man should have to speak in front of the mortal ruler of the most powerful empire on Earth? Couldn’t God have chosen a natural orator, a seasoned politician, even a classroom teacher? Why did he have to focus on a lonely desert shepherd for whom the extent of discourse up until then was probably limited to giving directions to sheep?

According to the Baal Haturim on Exodus 6:30, Moses needed to have faith that God has the power to rectify the situation. God chose Moses on purpose, knowing his limitations and perhaps even because of his limitations. God knows that Moses can and will overcome them. He just needed to be placed in the position to have the necessity to overcome his challenges. Otherwise, he may have forever remained incapacitated. What angered God about Moses’ fear and denial was his lack of faith. All that he needed to overcome was faith.

It was clearly not a simple or direct path for Moses, but eventually he acquires that faith and becomes the fundamental leader of the Jewish people.

May we each overcome our particular challenges and thereby merit to contribute in our own way to our people.

Shabbat Shalom,



To Ed Stelzer. It’s incredible where challenges and faith can lead us and how roads diverge and then intertwine.







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