On Shabbat morning we delved into the early phase of Moses’ call to redeem the Israelite slaves. Whenever we sit down together and study text I am surprised by two things:
1) Even when we think we know the story or content, we never get it quite right and find ourselves learning it all over again!
2) Whether we recall something correctly or not, we often see with new eyes or from a new perspective and perceive something wholly new.
The hiddush (a new idea – from the same root as hadash!) this week took place at the burning bush. For a long time, the interpretation that has been prominent was the idea that it was Moses’ ability and willingness to pay enough attention to even notice that the fiery bush was not being consumed. As we looked closely at the text this time another detail called out. Moses was walking by shepherding his sheep and noticed the fire in the bush. And then he stopped and turned to take a closer look.
Perhaps it is the challenging times we live in that made this moment feel so important. It is so easy to see something and continue walking along. What does it mean that Moses was concerned and interested enough to stop what he was doing and change his intention and focus? What would it mean if all people had the curiosity and concern to stop, and to turn, engaging with something outside of our own agenda or trajectory?