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    The burning bush – Sh’mot

    Moses and the burning bush, the Holman Bible, 1890

    Moses and the burning bush, the Holman Bible, 1890

    By the time we reach the adulthood of Moses we see that this was no ordinary human being but a man with a flaring sense of the Divine Presence.

    Out in the wilderness the Voice spoke to him from a thorn-bush which burnt but was not consumed.

    Three questions confront us: Why was it a thorn-bush, why was it in the wilderness, why was it burnt and not consumed?

    The Midrash applies the episode to the Jewish people.

    It is small like a thorn-bush, but spiritually great – size matters less than quality.

    It is in the wilderness – it functions in the most unlikely places (Midrash Sh’mot Rabbah 1:9 says that no place, neither a bush nor a wilderness, is devoid of the Shechinah).

    It burns but is not consumed – “constantly aflame with suffering”, as Rabbenu Bachya puts it, but indestructible.

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