Moses is instructed by G‑d to demand that Pharaoh release the Israelites from bondage. Moses is reluctant to assume the responsibility of being Israel's leader, and in humility asks, "Who am I to go to Pharaoh and to take Israel out of Egypt?" G‑d assures him, "I will be with you, and this is the sign that I sent you — when you take the people out of Egypt, you will serve G‑d on this mountain" (Exodus 3:12).

In the cacophony of strident voices claiming to express the Divine will, each insisting it is the real standard-bearer of Judaism, and it alone embodies the essence of our faith, the ordinary Jew may understandably be confused. How can we differentiate religious leadership from misrepresentation of Judaism?

How can we differentiate religious leadership from misrepresentation of Judaism?Moses performed mighty deeds in Egypt and afterward — the ten plagues, splitting the Red Sea, giving the people manna in the inhospitable desert, waging a supernatural and successful war with Amalek, etc. The sign G‑d gave Moses could have been any of these things, or simply, the very fact that he would accomplish the impossible mission of leading the Exodus should be adequate proof that G‑d is with him. But it seems that material success is no sign for a Jewish religious leader that "G‑d sent you." Physical freedom, power, and prosperity — these are not indications of strength of the spirit.

Moses knows he is G‑d's messenger because he leads the people to serve G‑d. He removes the yoke of slavery imposed by Pharaoh to replace it with the self-discipline demanded by Torah. He took Israel away from Pharaoh, and brought them near to G‑d. He proved himself a religious leader because his followers served G‑d better than they did without him. The leader who strengthens devotion to Torah and its teachings, who brings Judaism deeper into the lives of his people, he speaks with the voice of Judaism.