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Daily Verse: Exodus 4:4

Updated: Jan 15

Thursday 19 Tevet 5783 (12-01-23)

By Angelique Sijbolts

What do we Learn from the Staff and the Snake?

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהֹוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה שְׁלַח֙ יָֽדְךָ֔ וֶאֱחֹ֖ז בִּזְנָב֑וֹ וַיִּשְׁלַ֤ח יָדוֹ֙ וַיַּ֣חֲזֶק בּ֔וֹ וַיְהִ֥י לְמַטֶּ֖ה בְּכַפּֽוֹ׃

"G-d said to Moses, "Reach out and grasp its tail." When he reached out and took hold of the snake, it turned into a staff in his hand."

Moses found it a challenging task to go to the people, would they believe him, would they really believe that HaShem had sent him to them to redeem them? After all those years of oppression, sorrow and pain. Why would HaShem look after them now, why would redemption begin now?

Moses laid his doubts before HaShem. Not that he spoke evil of the people, he merely expressed his concern.

HaShem pointed him to his staff, because he had not spoken positively about the people he would actually deserve the staff, but instead he had to throw it on the ground and it became a snake.

He then had to pick up the snake by the tail, the most vulnerable part of the snake. And it became a staff, the staff to lead the people.

From this we learn an important lesson. It is easy to see or expect a mistake, or a possible mistake, in another person. But that is not the way it is possible to help people. We must trust them to make the right choices and decisions and only then intervene and lead when we see that they need our support.

We need to be humble and subservient and not seek to increase our own ego with the feeling that others need us, and therefore feel important. But helping others because HaShem asks that of us and knowing that we can only help if He helps us to do so.

Sources: Kehot Chumash Parshah Shemot

By Angelique Sijbolts


Angelique Sijbolts is one of the main writers for the website. She contributes for the admin of the website in English and Dutch. She teaches Hebrew to beginners and intermediate students at the Academy.

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