Rabbi Miriam Berger of Finchley Reform Synagogue explains why Moses is her ultimate Jewish icon…
It’s obvious to think of Moses as the epitome of the Jewish hero.
He stood up against Pharaoh, led the children of Israel through the wilderness and delivered them safely to the very edge of the Promised Land. Yet pick up any Pesach Haggadah, read the story of our redemption and Moses doesn’t get a name check – not even a passing reference in our Sseder liturgy.
Moses is my Jewish hero because he teaches us an important lesson to hold with us in our lives. The seder teaches us to look for the Divine in the actions of Moses.
To know that it was God who enabled Moses to perform like Pharaoh’s magicians, created the plagues and gave us freedom.
It was God who was the pillar of cloud and fire who led us through the wilderness by day and night and it was God who was the constant leading us into the Promised Land, whether we were being physically led by Moses or his successor Joshua.
So what makes Moses the hero?
He is our reminder to acknowledge the people in our lives through which we experience God. Be they doctors who enable us to experience God as the healer or creator, be they teachers who enable us to experience wisdom or be it friends and family who teach us the essence of love and mercy.
Don’t look for God in the miracles, look for the Divine working through the people who cause you to experience God’s attributes via them.
Then, when you have accepted the profundity of experiencing the Divine through others in your life, perhaps it then becomes our challenge to enable divine attributes to be experienced by others through us.
Most of us will not do it in the ways that doctors can, but the world offers us a multitude of ways to bring others a sense of mercy and justice to the lives of individuals around us.