Moses (Moshe in Hebrew) was the miracle-working leader chosen by G‑d to take the Israelites out of Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. The greatest prophet who ever lived, Moses transcribed the Torah (also known as the Five Books of Moses), the foundational text of Judaism.
The Life of MosesMoses was born in Egypt on the 7th of Adar in the year 2368 from creation (1393 BCE) at a time when the Israelites were slaves to Pharaoh and subject to many harsh decrees. He was the third of Jochebed and Amram/'s three children. His brother, Aaron, was his senior by three years, and his sister, Miriam, was older by six years.
His father, a prominent leader of the tribe of Levi, is referred to in the Talmud as “the greatest of the generation.”
Fearing the birth of a leader who would take the Israelite slaves out of Egypt, Pharaoh decreed that all Israelite boys be drowned. Moses’ mother and sister were midwives, and they bravely disregarded the cruel edict.
When Jochebed gave birth to a son (three months early), she hid him at home until he was three months old and she could hide him no longer. Then Jochebed put her son in a waterproof basket, and set him afloat in the Nile.
While his sister watched, the little boy was retrieved from the river by Pharaoh/'s daughter, Bithiah,1 who then raised him in the palace.
When he grew older, Moses left the palace and observed the suffering of his brothers. One day, he saw an Egyptian cruelly beating a Hebrew slave. Using the name of G‑d, he killed the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand. The following day, he went out again and saw two Hebrews quarreling. When he saw that one man was about to strike the other, he intervened, criticizing the would-be attacker. The man taunted him, asking: “Will you kill me like you killed the Egyptian?”
Realizing that he could not stay, Moses fled Egypt and made his way to Midian, where he married Zipporah, the daughter of Jethro, and fathered two sons, Gershom and Eliezer.
When he was 80 years old, Moses was shepherding his father-in-law’s sheep when G‑d revealed Himself in a burning bush on Mount Horeb (Sinai) and instructed him to liberate the children of Israel.
Moses hesitated, feeling that he was unworthy and that neither Pharaoh nor the people would listen to him, in part because he had a speech impediment.
Upon his return to Egypt, Moses and his brother, Aaron, confronted Pharaoh, telling him that G‑d said it was time for His nation to be taken from Egypt so that they could serve Him. Pharaoh refused to consider their petition.
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