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We can change for the better

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

In the coming days some students will unfortunately be receiving report cards which do not reflect their capabilities. On Shabbat we begin to read the book of Deuteronomy (Devarim) that holds an important message for these students and their parents.

In his first meeting with God, Moshe Rabbeinu declares: "I am not a man of words . . .I am heavy of mouth and heavy of tongue." As opposed to this, the book of Deuteronomy opens as follows: "These are the words which Moshe spoke to all of Israel". Devarim is full of long and passionate speeches delivered by Moshe Rabbeinu as he prepares to leave his people. What happened here? How did we transition from "I am not a man of words" to "These are the words that Moshe spoke?"

Our sages explain: Moshe Rabbeinu is given a task and a mission by God. He must take the people out of Egypt, teach them Torah, and lead them to the Promised Land. When we have a purpose and a goal, we can overcome many difficulties, including negative professional diagnoses and our own mistaken view of ourselves. Within each of us lies hidden, powerful potential and the reality we see before us today is not static. The same Moshe who initially said "I am not a man of words" became Moshe Rabbeinu, an eternal leader whose words we have been studying every day for more than 3000 years.


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