Where’s Moses?

Sorry that this post is a little late this week.  Can I blame it on the Matzah??

At my family’s second Passover Seder, I asked, “Whom do we discuss the most during the Passover Seder?”  As you can imagine, this question elicited different kinds of responses.  Some answered by saying, “the relatives who aren’t here.”  Others took it more seriously and offered Pharaoh, the slaves and God.  One person suggested Moses.

In truth, the traditional Haggadah does not mention Moses at all.  Even when discussing the Ten Plagues – a part of the narrative in which Moses plays a key role – his name does not come up.  The rabbis did not want us to give Moses credit erroneously for God’s actions.  So, they omitted Moses altogether.

On some level, this makes sense.  If Moses must be de-emphasized in the story of the Exodus, it means that we can all stand to be a bit more humble.

However, at the same time, it just doesn’t feel right.  After all, Moses was God’s partner in the redemption of the Hebrew slaves.  He may have been reluctant at first, but once he was on board, he was “all in.”

In a sense, Moses represents all of us reluctant, modern Jews.  Perhaps, we did not grow up with religion.  Perhaps, we need to be persuaded regarding its benefits.  Ultimately, though, we see ourselves as God’s partner in making the world a better place for Jews and for all humanity.

Instead of bringing plagues and splitting seas, we set our sights a bit lower.  We work to combat hunger and homelessness.  We bring together families and individuals for learning and social opportunities in order to build a sense of community.  We encourage people to treat the earth responsibly so that we can continue to enjoy the blessings it provides.

And, while we may not require top billing, it feels awfully good to know that we are God’s partners.

Enjoy the rest of your Passover!



About Rabbi Avi Friedman

I am the rabbi of Congregation Ohr Shalom - SJCC, a progressive Conservative and traditional congregation. I am also husband to Jodi as well as father to Gabi, Jonah, Jessica and Ilana. I have been a part of the Summit community since 2005.
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