“From Moshe to Moshe, there arose no one like Moshe.” Thus we are accustomed to say regarding Moshe Rabbeinu, who is mentioned for the first time in this week’s parshah, and Moshe ben Maimon – the Rambam – who passed away this week 816 years ago.
What can we learn from these two giants?
First, both of them were great men who were concerned about everyone. Moshe Rabbeinu worried about the lost sheep of his flock to the lowliest slave in Egypt. Moshe (which means “drawn out”) was drawn out of the water and he in turn drew the people out of the depths of slavery and ignorance into a life of freedom and Torah.
The Rambam similarly used his genius to draw people up. He educated, sent letters of encouragement to far-off Jewish communities, wrote books of philosophy, and wrote books accessible to the general public so that everyone would be able to understand the Torah.
Second, both of them acted on behalf of their faith and their people – before the entire world – with dignity, wisdom, and sensitivity. In an era when Judaism and Jews are still seen by some as a problem and not a solution, it’s important to remember these two figures.
Both continue to draw us out from exile to redemption and from lack of understanding to clear comprehension.