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1/2 Jan 2016: Parsha Shemot

Shabbat comes in 3.47pm ; goes out 4.57pm                                                                      
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Moses is out shepherding and encounters a burning bush. He is called by God to be a prophet and leader of the Israelites. Moses protests his calling. In Midrash Exodus Rabbah 2:5 it gives three different explanations as to why God chose a burning bush.
It explains that the burning bush was not merely a flashy way to attract Moses’ attention, but rather a symbol that conveyed a powerful message: “It is to teach that no place is devoid of God’s presence, not even a thorn bush.”
Another explanation says the bush was chosen because Moses had thought to himself that the Egyptians might consume the Israelites. Therefore, God showed him a fire which burnt but did not consume, saying to him, “Just as the thorn bush is burning and is not consumed, so the Egyptians will not be able to destroy Israel.”
Moreover, the Holy One said to Moses, “Do you not sense that I live in distress whenever Israel finds itself in distress ? Just look at the place out of which I speak to you, out of a thorn bush. I fully share in their distress, as the prophet Isaiah said: ‘In all their affliction, God is afflicted.’ (Isaiah 63:9) “
Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Paul Arberman
December 30, 2015