Why was Moshe Chosen to Lead the Jewish People?

Why was Moshe chosen to lead B’nei Yisrael (the people of Israel)? After all:

  • He had left Egypt at an early age and was eighty years old when Hashem told him to return. It seems that he was not in contact with Benei Yisrael for all that time?

  • Moshe did not reveal his identity as a Hebrew, the daughters of Yitro identified him as Ish Mitzri, an Egyptian?

  • Moshe married Tzipporah the daughter of Yitro a well-known idolater, priest of Midyan. Their pagan grandfather influenced his two sons?

  • Weren’t there any other more qualified individuals than him among B’nei Yisrael, after all he only had a Hebrew upbringing till the age of five or so, while his mother was weaning him?

The Torah relates three episodes that took place during Moshe’s teen years.

  1. The first involved the Egyptian taskmaster beating a Hebrew.

  2. The second involved two Hebrews fighting.

  3. The third involved Midyanite shepherds rejecting Midyanite women.

In all three cases, Moshe gets involved in a kind of knee-jerk reaction – unable to bear the sight of what he was witnessing. Moshe had a very strong aversion to injustice. The three different events involved diverse types of people: gentile and Hebrew, Hebrew and Hebrew, two gentiles. It did not matter who was involved. His passion for righteousness and justice would not allow him to ignore these situations.

The Midrash adds a fourth episode in Moshe’s life. Moshe the shepherd would prioritize care and protection for the small and weak sheep at the expense of the bigger and stronger ones.

It was his strong attachment to these two qualities of righteousness and justice that earned him the position as leader of the Jewish people. This was also the reason that Avraham Avinu was chosen by Hashem because he would teach these two principles to his children after him. Three times a day we repeat the blessing in the amidah (shemonah esrei) ‘…melech ohev tzedakah umishpat’ …King who loves righteousness and justice. If we want to focus on what Hashem loves, this is it, righteousness and justice.

Much joy and good health to all our members and friends