Moses The Seeker? A Ten Commandments’ Tale

the torah is taught to children through story books. these stories often are not the word for word depictions of the torah. rather, they are an interpretation. they are edited with respect to adult topics, i.e. lot’s offering of his daughter to the city’s residents in lieu of the strangers, and include non-textual sources.

stories from these books often include stories not that are not in the torah. talmudic and other sources may be used. one example pertaining to moses is the back story of his speech impediment and that his tongue was burned in an incident with the pharoah, a crown and a lump of hot coal.

with a hebrew school teacher mother, our home was filled with these books which i voraciously read as entertainment. as i grew up and started to read the actual torah text, my understanding of the bible stories needed a total reset. the actual torah offers far more than what story tellers could offer.

the tales of moses’ burning bush encounter may have missed upon an important aspect of the story. while much is discussed about what happened at the burning bush, there was perhaps something profound that occurred before.

thus, we will now digress. ..

people climb mountains reasons. some climb mountains for the exercise. some climb mountains as a sign of achievement in making it to the top.

thus, i pose the following question. if there was a “mountain of god,” why would someone be climbing it? what would they expect to find there?

moses, in the burning bush story, decided to climb the “mountain of god.” why?

my childhood memories of the story is that moses was searching after a lost member of his flock.

reading the torah, however, tells a different story. one of the torah’s greatest commentators interpretation is also an assist to this contention.

perhaps the best known torah commentator in the jewish world is rashi aka rabbi schlomo yitzchaki. he lived in middle age france and his family was in the wine business. his commentaries are so valued that many torah texts are published with rashi commentary within them.

thus, we turn to exodus chapter: 3:1, “moses was pasturing the flocks of jethro, his father in law, the chief of midian, and he led the flocks after the free pastureland, and he came to the mountain of god, to horeb.” rashi notes “after the free pastureland: to distance himself from [the possibility of] theft, so that they [the flocks] would not pasture in others’ fields. — [from exodus rabbah 2:3]”

thus, we have moses taking himself to the mountain of god and leaving his flock in an area where they would not be stolen. what was his motivation at the time for coming to the mountain of god? he secured his property, the flock, and he was there for a reason. what was it? what was the motivation? individuals go to ice cream stores to get ……? when you go to a mountain of god, you go to get….?

is there a legitimate contention that moses, at that point in his life, married with a family and occupation, was seeking spirituality? was he was seeking god?

one may ask, what is the point of your contention? the point is that moses was far from being an empty vessel of sorts when he approached the mountain. he was an individual who was ready to take on the challenge of finding a greater meaning in his life. while he was perhaps not prepared to take on the role of god’s messenger to deliver his people out of bondage, nevertheless, he, reluctantly did so with great success.

please comment on this matter. i would love to hear your thoughts.

be well!!

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Published by biblelifestudies

I am a practicing lawyer and long term admirer of the bible

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