More than three billion people — half the human race — base their ethos and belief system on his teachings. The people he founded have endured, under impossible conditions, for 33 centuries, confounding all historians. He's universally regarded as the ultimate lawgiver, the model leader, the quintessence of wisdom.

Yet in the very first chapters of the Torah's account of Moses' life (recorded, incidentally, by Moses himself), we read of a major blunder he made. A case in which this wise and devoted leader completely misjudged his people.

When G‑d appeared to Moses in the burning bush instructing him to return to Egypt and free the Children of Israel from the yoke of slavery, Moses' reaction was, "They're not going to believe me."

A reasonable assumption, one might say. At that point, the Children of Israel had been in exile for 210 years, 86 of them as slaves. Hebrew babies were being cemented in walls. Along comes a man who has been absent for decades. "I'm your redeemer," he says, "I've come to take you out of Egypt. G‑d sent me."

Isn't it reasonable for Moses to ask for some sort of proof he might present? A letter of recommendation in the form of a miracle or two he could perform, to back up his story?

G‑d is furious with Moses. He gives him the miracles he asks for (three of them), but makes it clear that they are necessary only because he, Moses, thinks them necessary.

The first thing you must know about your people, G‑d rebukes Moses, is that they are believers.