I am having difficulty finding the right words. It is not this newsletter that is the unusual challenge. Debbie and I had an intense week filled with powerful experiences. I cannot find the words to express all of my feelings of the past few days. I usually look to my siddur – prayer book – or Psalms, in such situations, but the emotions are so difficult to articulate that I didn’t even know for what I was looking.
Moses has many questions and arguments when God instructs him to go to Pharaoh: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” “But they will not believe me.” “Please, my Master, I am not a man of words.” “I am heavy of mouth and heavy of speech.” I often wondered about the differences between Moshe’s responses. Today, I can at least understand, “Please, my Master, I am not a man of words.” If I am having difficulty finding the right words to describe my recent experiences, how could any human being find the proper words to describe the plagues, the salvation of the Jews, the Exodus, Revelation at Sinai, and entering the Land of Israel? Who could possibly find the right words?
Moshe immediately understood that the words would not, and could not, be his. They would have to be God’s words that would issue forth from Moshe’s mouth. Hence, I am not the right vehicle for Your words, “I am heavy of mouth and heavy of speech.” How interesting that this man, who is not a man of words, writes the Book of Deuteronomy – Devarim – words. He who spoke God’s words became the man of words.
We have the same opportunity. The Sages teach us that human beings are defined as “M’dabair,” speakers. However, “M” also means, “from,” meaning “M -Davar,” from inside of us can come Divine words. Every word of Torah and prayer that we articulate as Divine words, transforms us into people of words. We only have to remember that the words are not our own. We must first learn to be articulators before we can become people who can find the right words.
One of the most powerful lessons I learned from my father zt”l was to appreciate that every word of Torah is Divine. He studied Maimonides with respect for each of the great Teacher’s words, with an appreciation that they were rooted in the Divine. The Foundation Stone™ honors the Rambam’s Yahrtzeit this past week with many posts from Mishna Torah to The Guide to The Perplexed, and from his Commentary on the Mishna to his famous letter to the Jews of Yemen.
Rabbi Simcha L. Weinberg