One would think as Moses complains and questions the Almighty that the Lord might offer reassurances or at the very least, an Ian MacKellan inspired vision of how wonderful death is. Instead, Moses is told he will fail, miserably. Well yes, eventually he will succeed. But first he will show Pharaoh signs and Pharaoh’s necromancers will mimic them. Even when he causes plagues the magicians can’t fully imitate or counter, still, the Pharaoh withholds consent.
While not good for Moses’ self confidence as he walks up the steps to the royal court, G-d was teaching Moses a lesson. This wasn’t going to happen in 22 minutes or less, plus commercial breaks. Not even in 2 plus hours and an intermission. This was going to take work.
And there would be setbacks. Some G-d planned for and some unsought. But imagine how much worse it would be for Moses to think it’ll be quick and easy only to have struggled along for weeks, months (eventually, including the desert sojourn, over forty years) beset by obstacles before and aft, on his right and left. To find himself each day stymied again by a stubborn Pharaoh.
But to know from the get go that this would happen, that there is a plan, is much easier.
In politics and government, there is a long game; reforming institutions: prisons, the welfare system, education. Or, to steel a nation for a long struggle ahead. The most famous speech of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose death we commemorated – and whose life we celebrated – this week was not I have a short, quick path to freedom and national reconciliation. It was “I Have a Dream.” Dreams take long to fulfill. That’s why they are dreams.
Elected officials and leaders must have staff – policy experts, generals, spymasters and educators who give them the long view, along with the expected obstacles. (There’s still the unexpected. One assumes no staffer or consultant in any presidential campaign or any reporter, producer or pundit ever put a paragraph in their 2012 plan beginning “Stephen Colbert will run in the South Carolina primary, with Jon Stewart assuming control of his SuperPAC and airing ads attacking…)
And then, it is up to elected officials to sell their constituents on the long road ahead. It is up to constituents, i.e., the voters, to recognize progress (or decline) is slow going, with obstacles.
So too, in our own lives, with those who ask our counsel and those we ask advice of, we must, as G-d did with Moses, let them in on the plan.
Words to consider. Ideas to ponder. Politics and the parsha.