Printed from


Friday, 3 February, 2017 - 1:30 pm

I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, "Where's the self-help section?" She said, "If I told you, it would defeat the purpose."

This week’s Torah portion, Bo, tells what happened when G-d summoned Moses to liberate the Jews from Egypt:

But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh...?

To which G-d responded:

"For I will be with you, and this is the sign for you that it was I Who sent you. When you take the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain."

How could Moses ask, Who Am I? G-d said Moses was the man to do the job! G-d knows His people. He chose Moses, period. No questions should be asked!

However, Moses’ question went far deeper than the surface. In Genesis, when Jacob was about to relocate to Egypt with his entire family, he was afraid and pained. Would his family have a future in Egypt? Would they assimilate? Would they survive? Would they be able to establish themselves the way they did in the Holy Land? G-d appeared to Jacob to reassure him:

And He said, "I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid of going down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up…

Note the words of G-d: I will go down with you and I will bring you up.

Now, centuries later, as G-d dispatched Moses on a mission to free the Jews, Moses cries out: Who am I? You promised Jacob that You Yourself would bring him up from Egypt. How then do you send me, a mortal man of flesh and blood?

To this G-d responded: “For I will be with you, and this is the sign for you that it was I Who sent you.” Moses, you are my emissary, I am always with you. You are an extension of Me. In the words of the Talmud, "A person's emissary is as he himself." Moses, do not see yourself as a small, ordinary person. Since I sent you, you are my ambassador, you represent ME, and thus you ARE Me!”

The opening of the first of the Ten Commandments is: “Anochi Hashem,” “I am the G-d who has taken you out of Egypt.” But was it not Moses who did the work? In fact, it was “Anochi,” G-d himself. Moses was the messenger who served as an extension and expansion of the One who sent him. His very “self” was a continuum of the “self” of the One who sent him.

How do we leave Egypt? How do we set ourselves free?

Some time ago, a man punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and he became furious when he saw her decorating a box for a Chanukah gift. Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, "This is for you, Daddy.”

The man was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again (he did have a very bad temper) when he found out the box was empty. He yelled at her, "Don't you know that when you give someone a present, there is supposed to be something inside?”

The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and cried, "Oh, Daddy, it's not empty at all. I blew kisses into the box. They're all for you, Daddy.”

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged for her forgiveness.

Only a short time later, an accident took the life of the child. The father kept that gold box by his bed for many years, and whenever he was discouraged, he took out an imaginary kiss and remembered the love of the child who had put it there.

Each one of us has been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, family members, friends, and Creator, G-d, who conceived us in love and sent us here to earth with all we need to fulfill our mission. There is simply no other possession anyone could hold more precious than this conviction. We sometimes wake up, look at our lives, and see nothing but an empty box… but when we look deeper into the emptiness, we will find a kiss. We will find the love of G-d, who sent us to this place, to these conditions, and who is there with us in these circumstances, helping us and empowering us to transform darkness into light. When our tent gets stolen, we can see millions of stars.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Yoseph Geisinsky

Comments on: WHO AM I?
There are no comments.