Moment to Decide
Once to every man and nation, comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, some great decision, offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever, ‘twixt that darkness and that light.
– James Lowell, 1845
“It happened in those days that Moses grew up and went out to his brethren and observed their burdens; and he saw an Egyptian man striking a Hebrew man, of his brethren. He turned this way and that and saw that there was no man, so he struck down the Egyptian and hit him in the sand (Exodus 2:11–12).” Moses had no problem with his “Moment to Decide.” He did not only decide to protect the Hebrew man, he decided to risk his position as a member of the royal palace by executing the Egyptian aggressor.
This was not Moses’ first Moment to Decide, as we saw in, “The Mouth.”
“The minister of Midian had seven daughters; they came and drew water and filled the troughs to water their father’s sheep. The shepherds came and drove them away. Moses got up and save them and watered their sheep (16–17).” Moses had no problem with his “Moment to Decide.” In the moment, he decided to provoke the shepherds and defend the women, once again, placing himself at risk in a place where he did not have the advantage of being a member of the royal family. The women he saved, on the other hand, were not quite as skilled in taking advantage of their “Moment to Decide.” Moses saved them, and they go home without him. “Then where is he? Why did you leave the man? Some and him and let him eat bread (Verse 20)!”
Yitro’s daughters were not the only ones who were not quite as skilled as Moses in taking advantage of their, “Moment to Decide,” Aaron too, once failed, as we saw in, “Biblical Personalities-Aharon-Selections from the Midrash.”
This man who has no difficulty in taking full advantage of his “Moment to Decide,” continues his pattern when, “he saw and behold! The bush was burning in the fire but the bush was not consumed. Moses thought, ‘I will turn aside now and look at this great sight’ (3:2).” (See, “A Dream-Wine & Vision,” “Lessons from Life,” and, “A Fantasy Lecture by King Solomon.”)
Something changes. “Do not come closer to here, remove your shoes from your feet, for the place upon which you stand is holy ground (Verse 5).” We never read of Moses removing his shoes. Did he hesitate?
“I am the Lord of your father, the Lord of Abraham, the Lord of Isaac, and the Lord of Jacob. Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to gaze toward the Lord (Verse 6).” We could say that Moses did decide; he decided to hide his face, however, when the verse says that, “he was afraid,” it implies that this was not a deliberate decision, but an act of fear. What happened to this man who never before had a problem with his Moment to Decide?
“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and that I should take the Children of Israel at of Egypt?” Not the answer we would expect from the man who has the confidence to act in his Moment to Decide!
The sages teach us that Moses spent an entire week arguing with God. What happened to the Moses who never before hesitated to act with confidence and determination?
Is this what happens to a decisive person who meets God?
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