Two Views of Moses: 6 Months, Centuries Apart


Two different views on Moses: Pope Francis’ beautiful reference to a loving, law-giving Moses in his speech before Congress on September 24, 2015, sent me to the archives of the internet, to look up Bibi Netanyahu’s reference to Moses before a joint session of Congress, on March 3, 2015.

As a Jew, I am embarrassed by Bibi’s shallow fear-mongering, and superficial interpretation of what Moses means to mankind.

First, Bibi: “Overlooking all of us in this Chamber is the image of Moses. Moses led our people from slavery to the gates of the promised land. And before the people of Israel entered the land of Israel, Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years. I leave you with his message today: ‘Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them.” (This came at the end of BiBi’s speech to Congress dripping with fear, hatred, and distrust of “the enemy,” in this case, Iran, and the Nuclear Arms Agreement with Iran.)

Then, Pope Francis: “Yours is a work which makes me reflect in two ways on the figure of Moses. On the one hand, the patriarch and lawgiver of the people of Israel symbolizes the need of people to keep alive their sense of unity by means of just legislation. On the other, the figure of Moses leads us directly to God and thus to the transcendent dignity of the human being. Moses provides us with a good synthesis of your work; you are asked to protect, by means of law, the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face.”

(This came at the beginning of the Pope’s appeal to Congress to work toward the “common good,” and for the dignity of all people.)

Two views of Moses; 6 months apart, yet centuries apart; fear and belligerence vs. hope, love and the rule of law for human dignity; bellicosity and flippant phrases vs. eloquence and the language of the heart.

We Jews need a better spokesperson for the meaning of a just, loving Judaism.

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