"Moses, Moses!" He said.
"Yes," replied Moses.
"Do not come any
closer," said HaShem. "Take your shoes off your feet. The place upon which you are
standing is holy ground. I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of
Moses hid his face, since he was afraid to look at the Divine.
said, "I have indeed seen the suffering of My people in Egypt. I have heard how they cry out because
of what their slave-drivers do, and I am aware of their pain. I have come down to rescue them from Egypt's
power. I will bring them out of that land, to a good, spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey,
the territory of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Yebusites.
Right now the cry of the Israelites is coming to Me. I also see the pressure to which Egypt is
Now go. I am sending you to Pharaoh. Bring My people, the Israelites, out of
"Who am I that I should go to
Pharaoh?" said Moses. "And how can I possibly get the
Israelites out of Egypt?"
"Because I will be with
you," replied HaShem. "Proof that I have sent you will come when you get the
people out of Egypt. All of you will then become God's servants on this
Moses said to God,
"So I will go to the Israelites and say, 'Your fathers' God sent me to
you.' They will immediately ask me what His name is. What shall I say to
am Who I am," replied HaShem to Moses. HaShem then explained,
"This is what you must say to the Israelites: 'I Will Be sent me to you.'
" HaShem then said to Moses, "You must then say to
the Israelites, 'The God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, sent me to you.' This
is My eternal name, and this is how I am to be recalled for all generations.
'Go, gather the elders of Israel, and say to them, 'The God of your fathers, appeared to me -
the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He said, 'I have granted you special providence regarding what is
happening to you in Egypt. I declare that I will bring you out of the
wretchedness of Egypt, to the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Yebusites
- to a land flowing with milk and honey.' ' 'They will take what you say seriously. You and
the elders of Israel will then go to the king of Egypt. You must tell him, 'God of the Hebrews,
revealed Himself to us. Now we request that you allow us to take a three day journey into the desert, to
sacrifice to our God."
"I know in advance that the Egyptian king will
not allow you to leave unless he is forced to do so. I will then display My power and demolish Egypt
through all the miraculous deeds that I will perform
in their land. Then Pharaoh will let you leave. 'I will give the people status among the
Egyptians, and when you all finally leave, you will
not go empty-handed. Every woman shall borrow articles of silver and
gold, as well as clothing, from her neighbor or from the woman living with her. You shall load this on your
sons and daughters, and you will thus drain Egypt of its
When Moses was able to reply, he said, "But they will not believe me. They will not listen to me. They
will say, 'God did not appear to you.' "
'What is that in your hand?'
"Throw it on the
When Moses threw it on the ground, it turned into a snake, and Moses ran away from it.
God said to Moses, "Reach out and grasp its tail."
Moses reached out and grasped the snake, it turned back into a staff in his hand.
"This is so that they will believe that God
appeared to you," He said. 'The God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob." HaShem then said to Moses, "Place your hand
on your chest inside your robe."
Moses placed his hand in his robe and removed it from his chest, it was leprous,
as white as snow. "Place your hand in your robe
again," said HaShem. Moses placed his hand back into his robe, and when
he removed it from his chest, his skin had returned to normal.
"If they do not believe
you," said God, "and they do not pay attention to the first miraculous
sign, then they will believe the evidence of the second sign. And if they also do not believe these two signs,
and still do not take you seriously, then you shall take some water from the Nile and spill it on the
ground. The water that you will take from the Nile will turn into blood on the
Moses pleaded with
HaShem. "I beg You, HaShem, I am not a man of words - not yesterday, not the day before
- not from the very first time You spoke to me. I find it difficult to speak and find the right
"Who gave man a
mouth?" replied HaShem. "Who makes a person dumb or deaf? Who gives a person sight or makes
him blind? Is it not I - HaShem? Now go! I will be with your mouth and teach you
what to say."
"I beg you O
Lord!" exclaimed Moses. "Please! Send someone more
"Is not Aaron
the Levite your brother? I know that he knows how to speak! He is setting out to meet you, and
when he sees you, his heart will be glad. You will be able to speak to him, and place the
words in his mouth. I will then be with your mouth and his mouth, and I will teach you what to do.
He will speak to the people for you. He will be your spokesman, and you will be his guide.
Take this staff in your hand. With it, you will perform the
Moses Leaves Midian
Moses left and returned to his father-in-law
Jethro. He said, "I would like to leave and return to my people in Egypt, to see if they are still
"Go in peace," said Jethro to Moses.
While Moses was still in Midian,
HaShem said to him, "Go return to Egypt. All the men who seek your life
Moses took his wife and sons and, putting them on
a donkey, set out to return to Egypt. He also took the divine staff in his hand.
said to Moses, "On your way back to Egypt, keep in mind all the wondrous powers that I have
placed in your hand. You will use them before Pharaoh. But I will make him obstinate, and he will not allow
the people to leave. You must say to Pharaoh, 'This is what HaShem
says: Israel is My son, My firstborn. I have told you to let My son go and serve Me. If
you refuse to let him leave, I will ultimately kill your own first-born son.'
When they were in the place where they spent the
night along the way, HaShem confronted Moses and wanted to kill him.
Tzipporah took a stone knife and cut off her son's foreskin, throwing it down at
Moses' feet. "As far as I am concerned, you're married to
blood", she said to the child. HaShem then spared Moses. "You
were married to blood because of circumcision," she said.
said to Aaron, "Go meet Moses in the desert."
Aaron went, and when he met Moses near HaShem's Mountain, he kissed him.
Moses described to Aaron everything that HaShem had
told him about his mission, as well as the miraculous proofs that He had instructed him to display.
Moses and Aaron went to Egypt, and they gathered all the elders of Israel.
Aaron related all the words that HaShem had told Moses, and he demonstrated the miraculous proofs
before the people.
The people believed. They accepted the message
that HaShem had granted special providence to the Israelites, and that He had seen their misery. They
bowed their heads and prostrated themselves.
First Confrontation with Pharaoh
Moses and Aaron then went to Pharaoh and said,
"This is what the God of the Hebrews, declares: 'Let My people leave, so they can sacrifice to Me in the
"Who is that I should obey Him and let Israel go? I do not recognize
Him. Nor will I let Israel leave."
"The God of the Hebrews has revealed Himself to
us"' said Moses and Aaron. "Please, allow us to take
a three day journey into the desert, and let us sacrifice to
HaShem. Otherwise, He may strike us down with the plague or the
The Egyptian king said to them,
"Moses and Aaron, why are you distracting the people from their work?
Get back to your own business! The peasants are becoming more
numerous, and you want them to take a vacation from their
That day, Pharaoh gave new orders to the people's
administrators and foremen. He said, "Do not give the people straw for bricks as
before. Let them go and gather their own straw. Meanwhile, you must require them to make the same
quota of bricks as before. Do not reduce it. They are lazy, and are protesting that they want to go
sacrifice to their God. Make the work heavier for the men, and make sure
they do it. Then they will stop paying attention to false
The administrators and foremen went out and told
the people, "Pharaoh has said that he will no longer give you straw.
You must go and get your own straw wherever you can find it. Meanwhile, you may not reduce the amount
of work you must complete."
The people spread out all over Egypt to gather
grain stalks for straw. The administrators pressured them and said,
"You must complete your daily work quota, just as before when there was
The Israelite foremen, whom Pharaoh's
administrators had appointed, were flogged. They were told,
"Yesterday and today you did not complete your quotas. Why didn't you make as many bricks as
The Israelite foremen came and protested to
Pharaoh. "Why are you doing this to us?" they said.
"We are no longer given straw, but we are told to make bricks. We are the ones being flogged, but it is
your people's fault."
lazy!" retorted Pharaoh. "Lazy! That's why you are saying that you want to sacrifice to
HaShem. Now go! Get to work! You will not be given any straw, but you must deliver your quota of
The Israelite foremen realized that they were in
serious trouble. They had been clearly told that they could not reduce their daily brick quota.
When they were leaving Pharaoh, the foremen
encountered Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them.
HaShem look at you and be your Judge," they said. "You have destroyed our reputation with Pharaoh
and his advisors. You have placed a sword to kill us in their
Moses returned to
HaShem and said, "O Lord, why do You mistreat Your people? Why did You send me?
As soon as I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he made things worse for these people. You have
done nothing to help Your people."
said to Moses, "Now you will begin to see what I will do to Pharaoh. He will be forced to let them
go. Not only that, but he will be forced to drive them out of his
VaEra Exodus 6:2