The Book of Exodus is essentially a story about God’s saving love for the oppressed Israelites. It begins with the birth of Moses and follows him as a young prince turned into a rebel and outlaw, then a shepherd, and finally THE prophet of God.
Why Moses? What was so unique about him that God should choose him to be His most intimate of prophets?
Moses is a complex man; passionate, pure, just, humble, at home no where, carrying always the burdens of his people and the word of God.
God identified him because he was unique, and that is what my drash-poem below is about; namely, the uniqueness that would draw Moses out to become the most important Jew in history.
Dr. Martin Luther King, though not Moses, was a prophet for our times, and on this weekend we celebrate his legacy.
So often we walk about in a daze, / Eyes sunk in creviced faces / Fettered to worldly tasks / Blind to rainbows.
I imagine Moses, in Midian, like that, / Brooding in exile, / Burdened by his people’s suffering, / Knowing that each day / They scream from stopped-up hearts / Shedding silent tears.
A simple shepherd Moses had become / Staff in hand / Counting sheep / Until one day / Weaving through rocks / Among bramble bushes / The shepherd heard thorns popping. / Turning his head / His eyes were opened / And he would never be the same.
God had from his birth taken note of him / And waited until this moment / To choose him as prophet.
Dodi dofek pitchi li / A-choti ra-yati yo-nati ta-mati. / Open to me, my dove, / my twin, my undefiled one. (Song of Songs 5:2)
Moses heard the Divine voice / His eyes beheld angels / His soul flowed with a sacred river / Of Shechinah light.
‘Why me? / Why should I behold such wondrous things? / Unworthy am I!’
God said, / ‘Moses – I have chosen you / Because you are soft / Because you weep / Because your heart is burdened and worried / Because you know this world’s cruelty / Yet you have not become cruel / Nor do you stand idly by.
You are a tender of sheep / And you will lead my people / With the shepherd’s staff / From Egypt / And teach them to open their stopped-up hearts / Without fear.’
Trembling, Moses peered a second time / Into the bush aflame / Free from ash and smoke.
His eyes opened as in a dream / And he heard a soft murmuring sound / Like the sound breath makes passing through parted lips.
Two voices—One utterance! / He hid his face / For the more Moses heard / The brighter was the light / And he knew he must turn away / Or die.
The prophet’s thoughts were free / Soaring beyond form / No longer of self. / To this very day / There has not been a purer soul than his.
God said, ‘Come no closer, Moses! / Remove your shoes / Stand barefoot here on this earth / For I want your soul.
I am here with you and in you / I am every thing / And no thing / And You are Me. / I see that which is and which is not / And I hear it all.
Take heed shepherd/prince / For My people‘s blood / Calls to me from the ground. / The living suffer still / A thousand deaths.
You must go and take them out! / Every crying child / Every lashed man / Every woman screaming silent tears.
And Moses, know this / “With weeping they will come, / And with compassion will I guide them.” (Jeremiah 31:8) / The people’s exile began with tears / And it will end with tears.
I have recorded their story in a Book / Black fire on white fire / Letters on parchment / Telling of slaves / Seeing light / Turning to Me / Becoming a nation.
The Book is My spirit / The letters are My heart / They are near to you / That you might do them / And teach them / And redeem My world / That it might not be consumed in flames.