This week in the Torah, in Parashat Shemot, we learn about God’s revelation to Moses at the burning bush. Moses is in Midian, looking after the sheep of his father-in-law. Something out of the ordinary catches his eye; there is a bush on fire, but the branches are not burning up. He says, “I will turn aside now and see this marvelous sight!” At this moment, when Moses pauses to take a closer look, God calls to him.
“Hineni,” he answers.
I am here. I am HERE.
According to some interpretations – the bush had been ablaze all along, but before this moment, no one, not even Moses, had paused from the midst of their daily routine to pay attention to it.
Perhaps it is this fact of Moshe turning to take in the flames,
to stare with awe at the branches aglow and intact,
through which he merits to hear the voice of God calling his name.
Rabbi Lawrence Kushner praises Moshe’s pausing,
“How long would you have to watch wood burn before you could know whether or not it actually was being consumed? Even dry kindling wood is not burned up for several minutes…. God wanted to find out whether or not Moses could pay attention to something for more than a few minutes.”
As we look to redeem the world, bit by bit, this is a quality that is vital for our leaders and in all of us.
And it is increasingly challenging in this world of insta-everything…
As the new year rolls in,
as we are ever aware of time passing,
may we take time to be present with one another,
with ourselves, and with the natural world;
To tune into Divine sparks and songs,
and to the power of life
unfolding within us and around us.
May the gift of Shabbat teach us to be present.
To tune in.
In 2023, may we have many moments of saying –
Hineni – Here I am – I am here.