By Rabbi Mordechai Raizman
In this week's Parsha, G-d appears
to Moses in the burning bush, appointing him to be a leader of the
Jewish people. One is prompted to ask, what did Moses do before
this event to deserve this appointment?
In Exodus, (Chap. 2, verse 11), we
are told that Moses leaves the comfort of Pharaoh's palace and walks
among his brothers to share their plight. Rashi comments on the
Torah's words, "He saw their burdens," that Moses involved
himself emotionally and became distressed about their condition.
Moses did not need to leave the comfort of the palace, yet he did.
This display of compassion for his brothers is what made him worthy
to be appointed as a leader.
Furthermore, what is the significance
of the Torah's expression, "He went out on the second day?"
(ibid., verse 13) Is it not enough to say he went out again? Perhaps
the Torah is teaching an important lesson here. Moses knows that
things have not changed overnight. He is going out and seeing the
same affliction and suffering that he saw yesterday, yet he persists.
He continues because he wants to feel his brothers' pain. His giving
of himself beyond the call of duty, is what shows true leadership.
The Torah begins its description by
stating, "Vayigdal Moshe." (The root of this word is gadol,
meaning great.) Rashi tells us in Deuteronomy that the word "gadol"
really means to give and not the common meaning which is (to be)
big. The connection can be shown with a small analogy. A child,
also known as a "koton", thinks only of himself. His first
words are, "It's mine." As he grows he learns that he
must share with others. As he grows older and he becomes big, a
"gadol", he understands that learning to give to others
is not just a nice character trait to possess; rather, it is essential
to the true growth and development of a person. Throughout high
school, college etc., developing relationships become impossible
if he cannot learn how to give.
This, then, is the true meaning of
Gadol. Growing up is giving. This is why the Torah describes
Moses's act of giving by using the word "Gadol". The lesson
to be learned from here is that a true "Gadol" displays
that even beyond the call of duty, "It's not mine, it's