Moshe Rabeinu, King of Ethiopia
(Continued from last week)
“I have a plan through which we will be able to capture the city from which the evil Balaam ousted you so many years ago,” said Moshe, on the seventh day after being selected king of Ethiopia.
“What is this plan, Moshe? Tell us what we must do to be reunited with our families and loved ones?”
“Go out to the fields, all of you, and capture as many wild storks as you can. Bring them back to the camp and then train them carefully in the art of hunting for food.”
The people did not understand how Moshe’s plan would succeed in recapturing the city. Never-theless, they knew that Moshe was a great and wise man and they had great faith in him.
So the next morning, all the army went into the fields looking for storks to capture. They succeeded in capturing a sizeable number of birds and brought them back to camp. There they followed Moshe’s instructions and began to teach them how to hunt for wild animals and reptiles.
After several weeks, the storks had become experts in the art of hunting and were able to spy food from many feet on high. It was then that Moshe called together the army and said, “We have now reached the time when we shall begin to implement the next part of the plan.
“Take the trained storks and give them no food for three days. Make sure that they are very, very hungry.”
Attacking The Snakes
The people obeyed the words of Moshe and locked the storks in cages for three days. At the end of that time, the storks were ravenously hungry and desperate to fly out of their cages and seek food.
“Gather up your weapons,” cried Moshe, “and mount your horses. Each man take with him a stork.”
With cries of joyful anticipation, the soldiers ran for the storks and climbed on their horses.
Imagine their amazement, however, as Moshe led them to the side of the city that was guarded by the terrible snakes and scorpions, whose slightest bite meant a slow painful death for the unfortunate victim.
“Oh Moshe,” they cried, “why do we go to this valley of death? Do you want us all to die an agonizing death?”
“Have no fear, my subjects,” replied Moshe, “for if you will but have faith in me and in the Almighty, you will see how we shall attack and destroy the snakes.”
So speaking, Moshe commanded his soldiers: “Release the storks.”
The Storks Bring Victory
As the storks felt themselves free, they soared to the skies in feverish flight looking for food.
As if with one command, they suddenly swooped down on the valley of snakes and scorpions and began to attack the reptiles with furious and continuous attacks. The serpents were no match for the hunger-crazed storks and within a short time, not one was left in the entire valley.
The City Is Captured
The way was now open to attack the city, for the entire side – which had been defended by the reptiles – was now defenseless. With shouts of victory, the army now charged into the city. Its defend-ers were no match for the attackers and in a short time, the city was in the hands of the army that had been locked out for nine years.
The evil Balaam saw that it was hopeless to remain and fight. So he, together with his two sons and eight brothers, fled to the land of Egypt where they became the magicians of the court of Pharaoh. They emulated some of the plagues of Moshe, and they were to be a thorn in the side of the Jewish people for many years to come.
Moshe, meanwhile, was acclaimed with great joy by all the people, and he was destined to remain for another 40 years as the king of Ethiopia. There, while he was king, he worshiped the G-d of Israel faithfully and taught his subjects love, justice and truth. He implanted within them the seeds of charity and humility. There was peace and tranquility within the borders of Ethiopia during all the years of Moshe’s reign.
The Letters Of The Alphabet
Who Testified Against Israel
What is there to compare with the love of a father for his children? To a father, no child can do wrong and no child is bad. He is ready to throw himself, body and soul, into the defense of an accused son or daughter and lets nothing stand in the way of his love for his offspring.
Just as this is true for fathers of individual children, so is it with the father of the entire Jewish people – Avraham. He stands at all times ready to plead the case of the Jewish people whenever the Almighty desires to bring them to the bar of justice for their sins.
The most famous of all such times was when the Jewish people were faced with exile and extinc-tion at the time of the wicked Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.
The Letters Come To Testify
The Almighty called together the Torah and all its letters to testify against the Jewish people. As the Torah stepped forward, however, Avraham suddenly cried out, “How can you testify against the people who walked through the desert to Mount Sinai to accept you with the cry, ‘We shall do and we shall hear?’”
The Torah shamefacedly backed away and refused to testify. Thereupon the individual letters were called and the first letter – the Aleph – stepped forward.
“Oh, little Aleph,” cried Avraham, “do you also step forward to testify against my people? Do you not remember that you were the first letter of the Ten Commandments, in the word Anochi – I am the L-rd, thy G-d, who took you out of the land of Egypt?
“Do you not remember that when all the other nations had rejected you, it was Israel alone that accepted you? How can you now testify against them?”
The Aleph, too, hung its head and refused to testify.
It was now the turn of the second letter – the Beis – and she advanced to give witness against Israel.
“My little Beis,” cried Avraham. “The Almighty set you as the first letter of the Torah, in the word Bereishis – in the beginning. Do you know of another people who study you as the Jewish people do and teaches their children to drink in your letters with thirst? Can you now give testimony against these people?” The Beis, like the Aleph refused to testify.
Nor was the Gimmel any more fortunate. No sooner did she declare her willingness to testify than Avraham was again on his feet and pleading with her.
“Is it not the Gimmel who stands at the beginning of the word Gedilim (tzitzis) when it says, ‘Fringes shall you make for you?’ Is there another people who observe this mitzvah and wear the fringes on their four-cornered garments as an everlasting remembrance of the Almighty and His commandments so that they may keep from sin? If you can testify against them after this, I bid you to go ahead.”
The Gimmel naturally could not do so, and neither could the other 19 letters of the alphabet. All stood back and refused to give testimony against the Jewish people who had so diligently learned them.
Thus did our father Avraham plead for his children, though he knew that they had sinned. And so should we bear in mind that, although a fellow Jew had sinned, it is incumbent upon us to defend him and find an excuse for his transgression rather than rush forward to condemn him.
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Page last updated - 08/10/2006