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Living with the Parsha: Just Like Moses

Living with the Parsha: Just Like Moses

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"David, I'd like to speak to you," Mr. Cohen said. David immediately felt his heart go thump! What did Mr. Cohen want him for? What had he done wrong?... But he needn't have worried, Mr. Cohen looked quite cheerful - not at all angry.

"David," he said, "Next week, several important people are visiting our school, including the mayor. The headmaster would like them to speak personally to some of the boys, to talk about our school, and he asked me for some ideas, so I suggested you. What do you say?"

David felt paralyzed. He, speak to the mayor? He couldn't! Surely Mr. Cohen realized that he couldn't. Everyone knew that David had a speech problem, that he stammered. Unkind people often laughed at him when he spoke. He couldn't speak to the mayor ...All these thoughts tumbled around his mind. At last he said: "I-I don't think th-that I-I could do it, Mr. C-Cohen."

"Why ever not?" his teacher sounded surprised.

"I-I don't speak w-well enough. I always s-stammer." David said sadly. He looked at Mr. Cohen, who seemed to be smiling.

"David, I'm surprised at you! Don't you remember what we just learnt in the Parsha lesson? You just said exactly the same thing that Moses said to G‑d. Do you remember? G‑d tells Moses that he wants him to be His messenger to tell Pharaoh to release the Jews from their slavery, but Moses protests that he can't speak properly - like you David, Moses had a speech impediment…. "

During the Parsha class David had in fact noticed that Moses had a speech impediment. He had felt too shy to mention it to anyone else, but now Mr. Cohen was speaking about it!

Mr. Cohen continued. "G‑d tells him that He, G‑d, makes people speak, and will put words in his mouth. When Moses protests more, G‑d lets him take Aaron, his brother with him, who will speak for him. So, Moses went to Pharaoh, accompanied by his brother, and eventually, through his efforts, the Jews were able to leave Egypt."

"Y-yes, I r-rem-mem- b-ber", said David.

"Now, I want you to speak to the mayor because you are a good example of the boys in this school, and you are not any less wonderful just because you happen to stammer. Moses was the greatest of men, and he also stammered!"

David thought this over. It was very flattering to be compared to Moses, and it was comforting to know that even very great people had the same problems as he had. Maybe he should agree, just as Moses had agreed to be the messenger of G‑d who would lead the Jews out of Egypt.

"Ok-kay. I'll do it!" he said.

By Dr. Tali Loewenthal, Director of Chabad Research Unit, London, UK and a frequent contributor to the Chabad.org weekly Torah reading section.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
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Linda Harrison Leeds, UK January 9, 2010

Just like Moses excellent story! I am going to send a copy to my cousin who teaches children who have many difficulties.

I must add that I found it so uplifting myself.

Thank you Reply

rivka las vegas, Nevada/America January 15, 2009

! very nice Reply

Anonymous London, United Kingdom January 14, 2009

Stammering I was touched by your children's story. I think I am going to print it up and use it in an RE class if I get the opportunity. I may need to change terms like Parsha as I speak to a multi faith group but I can definitely tie it in.

I am writing a book at present and in it one of the characters has a stammer and it is part of my effort to send the message that everyone has value and those with speech impediment or other disability are not excluded.

Well done Reply

Hadani March 11, 2008

Maybe David should have asked if he could bring his brother? Reply

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