This week we find ourselves in the thick of our Exodus story. God commands Moses to speak to Pharoah, to ask him to let the Israelites go. Several times along the way, Moses iterates his speech impediment to God- Moses is "Aral Sfataim." The Women's Torah Commentary translates this phrase as "toungue tied." We understand Moses to have a speech impediment or stutter, so this translation makes sense. Aral, found in Leviticus 19:23 translates as "uncircumcised" and in Habbakuk 2:16 (book eight of the twelve minor prohphets) as "naked" or "exposed." Looking at all three translations, Moses's lips are uncircumcised- closed up, understanding the situation, Moses is very literally exposed, naked, and of course toungue tied!
In these brief verses, we witness Moses' honesty and humility: Moses cries- I am tongue-tied, why would Pharoah listen to me?! How many times have we as individuals questioned our own confidence, authority or leadership in this way?
God, rather than simply accepting Moses' complaint, and choosing Aaron to lead over Moses, literally lifts Moses up. God's response: "I will place you in the role of God to Pharoah, and Aaron will be your prophet." God lifts Moses up, into the role of the divine. Aaron becomes not just Moses' translator, but a prophet, a translator of the divine.
From this Torah portion, we remember that while we may doubt ourselves, we are all in the image of the divine. While at times we may find ourselves tongue tied, closed up, exposed, when we find our courage, when we find our voices to lead in humility, as Moses does, we bring a bit of the divine within us, out into the world, just as Moses does throughout the Exodus story and his leadership of the Jewish people.
In our moments of doubt, of uncertainty, may we find our humble selves, may we overcome our nakedness and share our voices with courage. May we remember that sometimes we cannot share our voices all on our own, and may we allow ourselves to be supported in those times with God's presence, and the presence of others, and though them, may we be lifted as Moses.