This post is dedicated in memory of Shlomo ben Aryeh Zalman. May it be an aliyah for his neshama
By: Samantha Hulkower
After rebuffing God's many requests that he lead the Jewish people out of slavery in Egypt, Moses finally accepts the position. In this week's Torah portion, Vaeira, Moses and his brother Aaron begin the process of trying to 'Let My People Go.'
The text reads, "God spoke to Moses and Aaron and commanded them regarding the Children of Israel" (Exodus 6:13). The Torah commentator Rashi explains that God was commanding them to lead the Jewish People with patience (in Hebrew savlanut סבלנות).
There is a story in the Midrash (often allegorical stories that fill in the blanks in the written Torah) that God said to Moses that the Jewish people can be stubborn and frustrating, and you are accepting this position with the knowledge that they might give you a hard time and reject your leadership. Knowing how the 40 years in the desert played out, this might be considered something of an understatement.
However, someone who does not have the ability to act patiently and with tolerance toward those around them cannot be a leader. While this is certainly true regarding someone with as lofty a position as Moses, it is really an invaluable character trait for everyday life (especially dating and marriage!).
We all have different backgrounds that have made us who we are today - along with our pet peeves and idiosyncrasies. Therefore, in order to cut down on your own stress, while maximizing your ability to get along with friends, colleagues, neighbors, roommates, etc., one must be tolerant of their actions and words. Which brings us back to the word for patience - savlanut. The root of the word is sovel סובל- to carry [a heavy load]. One who is tolerant of others is similar to a porter who hauls a heavy load and carries on despite the burden. Likewise, every day probably put up with things from our boss or roommate that we do not agree with or that rub us the wrong way. Moreover, many times others act in a way that is insulting or even downright nasty. Yet, in all these instances, a savlan acts with tolerance, continuing to carry on, undaunted.
We have the ability to emulate Moses and his leadership capabilities every time we exercise our patience. With enough practice, who knows where this trait might take us!
With content from Rav Wolbe
But it wasn't 400 years. It was only 210 years.
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