Spiritual and Ethical Issues in the Bamidbar Stories by Dr. Meir Tamari
My Servant Moshe 
"And the man Moshe was extremely humble, more than any man upon the face of the earth (Bamidbar 12:3); My servant Moshe, in the whole of My House is he trustworthy" (12:7). Chazal saw in the wording and the construction of these 2 verses concerning Moshe in the story of Miriam and Aharon's words against him, a clear perspective of Moshe's singular status as the prophet of all times.
"There has arisen no prophet in Israel like Moshe (D'varim 34:10) but in the nations of the world there has arisen Bilaam ben Beor" (Sifri). "In order that the nations of the world would not be able to say that they would have accepted the Torah if G-d would only have sent them a prophet like Moshe, there is a long list of prophets that He sent to them, of whom Bil'am is the greatest" (Tanna d'bei Eliyahu). Bil'am and Moshe, is a study in contrasts, highlighting not only the greatness of Moshe but also the radical differences between the prophets of Israel and the others.
Moshe protests his reluctance and unsuitability for prophecy and in every story of our prophets, the very first revelations are likewise accompanied by attempts to evade the calling; prophecy was not a career to be pursued. Our prophets consistently express their sorrow when the punishments they have foretold are imminent or actually occur. Yirmiyahu authors Eicha when his prophecy of the destruction of Yerushalayim comes true. Moshe pleads for the forgiveness of Israel's sins and prays for his own destruction rather than that Israel should suffer the results of their actions. Yeshayahu trembled over the sorrows of Moav (16:11) and Yechezkeil wept over the fall of Tyre. Bil'am, however, arrogantly accepts the designation by Balak of himself as a seer and a prophet. He pursues the prophecy and its material rewards while boasting of his antecedents and spiritual powers. When his aim of cursing Israel is turned by G-d into blessings, he advises Moav to secure their destruction through sexual immorality. "One who has an evil eye, [jealous and stingy], an arrogant spirit and a greedy soul is of the disciples of Bilaam" (Avot 5:21).
The use of the term EVED NE'EMAN, most trusted servant, describing Moshe, is singularly instructive since it highlights two intrinsic and essential traits in Jewish prophets and leaders. We find the same term used to refer to Eliezer when Avraham sends him to find a wife for Yitschak; there it indicates devotion and single minded- ness in carrying out one's mission and adhering faithfully to the wishes of the principal as he himself would do. Moshe was the very personification of such a EVED NE'EMAN, even above all the other prophets of Israel.
Furthermore, there was in Moshe another perspective to EVED NE'EMAN. He never abused or exploited the power that was inherent in his role as prophet and leader; there was never even a hint of self-interest or personal aggrandizement. "Moshe said to the people, 'during all our wanderings in the desert I never asked anyone to erect or dismantle my tent. I never asked anyone to carry my goods for me in their hands. When I brought my family from Midyan, it was on my own donkeys [even though the purpose was the public service of the Exodus]" (Yalkut Shimoni, Korach 12). "Shimshon asked before he was killed together with the Philistines in Gaza, 'Remember, G-d, to my credit that in all the 20 years that I judged Israel, I never once asked anybody to as much pass me my stave from one place to another' [a favor that could hardly have been refused to one in his position]" (Sotah 10a). So too, we read Shmuel HaNavi protesting any abuse of power, even the mere appearance of such abuse: "When I went to ask forgiveness for Israel or when I was sent to anoint a king for them, I took my own sacrificial animals. In performance of my judicial functions, I did not follow the usual practice and force Israel to come to me but made my circuit at my own expense" (Bamidbar Rabba).
Self-made people, who believe that they alone create their wealth, honor and happiness, have no spiritual space for G-d. One of the major human religious problems was created by the Greek, and later Renaissance, idea that nothing exists beyond the human ability, wisdom, and understanding. This form of arrogance always militates against worship and obedience to the Divine. "Haughtiness of the eyes and an immoderate heart are the sinful field of the wicked" (Mishlei 21:4). "Whosoever has proud eyes and a haughty heart, him will I despise" (T'hilim 101:5). "The one MIDA to which the rule of the medium path does not apply is that of pride and arrogance. Regarding this, one should always be extreme in rejecting and avoiding every hint and manifestation (Hilkhot De'ot 2:3).
However, the humility of Moshe should in no way be equated with voluntary poverty, physical weakness, otherworldliness, or monasticism. "G-d calls Moshe His servant; the servant of the king is a king" (Tanchuma, Tzav 13). The Midrash teaches that Moshe was a king in Kush before returning to Egypt and he appears before Par'o as an equal. He is the great lover of Israel yet he is unafraid to stand up against their revolts, sins and murmurings. "Moshe was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye had not dimmed and his vigor had not diminished" (D'varim 14:2). "Should we think that Moshe was a weak man, it is written 'and he slew Sichon, king of the Emori and Og king of the Bashan' (Bamidbar 21:34); should we think that Moshe was poor, it is written 'Israel despoiled Egypt' and 'the man Moshe was extremely great' (Sh'mot 11:3). Should we think that he was not tall, it is written 'and he covered the Mishkan with the tent' (Sh'mot 40:9); the Mishkan was 10 cubits high yet Moshe was able to put the tent over it" (Sifri 101).
"How could Moshe be humble and yet write in the Torah the words, 'and the man Moshe was more humble than any man'; surely that is arrogance'? Remember, however, the verse that says, 'Moshe, the man of G-d'; it is that characteristic that enables Moshe to be a king, a high-priest, father of all the prophets, speak face to face with G-d and yet write in the Torah, 'and Moshe was the most humble of men" (Midrash).