Our tradition teaches that Moses was the best prophet ever and there was no one like him. However, this week’s parsha demonstrates that there were other prophets in Moses’ time, if only for “bit parts.” When everyone left the camp, two men named Eldad and Medad stayed inside and began to prophesy. Joshua get upset on Moses’ behalf, as here were two men taking over Moses’ role. He told Moses “STOP THEM!” to which Moses almost laughed, saying “Are you jealous on my behalf? Would that all people be prophets that G-d would put His voice inside them.”
This is a radical statement for Moses to make! After all, if everyone claimed to have the “word of G-d” there would be chaos! We also don’t look to highly upon our “street-corner prophets” proclaiming the “will of G-d.” It seems, however, that Moses was imparting an important message: not everyone was dependent on him for the words of G-d. If we passively wait for one person to impart G-d’s message onto us, we lose valuable opportunities to do good in the world and actively find the words of G-d. Each of us, like Eldad and Medad, needs to seek out the word of G-d through our personal supplications and our heartfelt prayers. It is easy to rally behind your leader and dangerous to get others involved. However, as a great leader, Moses understood that he could not do it all on his own, and that he needed to take the risk of having others feeling free to prophesy.
There’s another lesson here: Moses had the self-confidence necessary to allow others to connect with G-d independently from him. He did not feel the need to be the sole intermediary between the people and G-d. This required Moses to take a risk, as others could have easily turned away from him and followed Eldad and Medad. However, instead of being jealous of the attention that Eldad and Medad received, Moses was strong enough to embrace it and “let it be.”
I think this concept strongly ties into a marriage. Marriage is a give-and-take between leading and following. It is a blend between at times doing things the way you want and at other times following the will of your partner or creating a compromise. This not only takes hard work but it also requires each person to have the level of confidence necessary to meet the needs of the other without viewing it as a diminishment of oneself. Knowing Rebecca and Matt for the short duration of time that I have, I know that you have a high level of mutual respect and will give one another time to shine. You will support one another through the highs and lows of life and raise each other up to new heights. You will recognize, as Moses did, that the ideal is for both parties in the relationship to be strong and at their best.
Similarly, each of us has the opportunity to personally connect with G-d independently from someone serving as an intermediary. We do not need a Rabbi or Cantor to be our direct link to G-d: rather, each of us can form our own, personal connection to G-d through prayer and study. I cannot see a better time to do this work than right now, as we recently celebrated the giving of the Torah and the holiday of Shavuot. Let us follow the examples of Eldad and Medad and strive to develop a strong, personal relationship with our Creator. Ken Yhi Ratzon, may it be our will to do so. Shabbat Shalom.