Parashat Shemot

Why Hashem selected Moses to lead the Jews

 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. (Chapter 3;v.4)

Why did God choose an “Egyptian Prince”, who had grown up in Pharaoh’s palace, to be the savior of the Jews? Moses never suffered the slavery that his brethren suffered, so why was it he, of all people, who was chosen for this mission?

On this question Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Chajes comments: “A person who lived in slavery would never have dared to demand everything from Pharaoh: total emancipation, the Exodus from Egypt. He would have sought a compromise and would have accepted concessions. He would try to achieve one step at a time, following each of the Ten Plagues…Only Moses, who had lived his whole life as a totally free man, could make such demands.”

The fact that Moses had a speech impediment is also reflected in the Midrash and in the interpretations given of Moses’ role in the Exodus. Rabbeinu Nissim writes: The reason he was born with a speech impediment and a stutter was so that all should know that his influence was only because the Divine Presence was speaking through him. Another reason why Moses had a speech impediment was so that people should not say that it was because he was an excellent speaker and a demagogue that he was able to influence the Jewish people. The Maggid of Mezeritch explains the reason for this handicap: Moses, the redeemer of the Jews, had a speech impediment, because he was unable to limit his greatness within the confines of speech.