Moses is in crisis. He feels all alone. He feels worthless. You see, the nation is traveling to the promised land, to fulfill their historic destiny, but instead of appreciating the greatness of the moment, they care only about the “now.” They are consumed by a “gluttonous craving” for meat.
If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish that we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic… And Moses said to the Lord, …Did I conceive this people, or give birth to them that You say to me, Carry them as an adopted father carries the suckling child … to the land that You have promised… I cannot carry all this people by myself, for it is too much for me… kill me rather, I beg You, and let me see no more of my misfortune! (11:11-15)
Moses imagines the nation as an infant who needs constant attention, as God’s child that he has been forced to adopt and carry. He asks to die rather than to continue as the national leader. He gives up.
How will God alleviate Moses’ distress?
Click here to read more from Rabbi Alex Israel in this week’s Parsha Discussion on Beha’alotecha: Moses in Crisis.
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