In honor of Rabbi Yisroel and Chana Sirota Dedicated by her son-in-law David B. Schottenstein
It was the worst crisis in Moses' life. Incited by the 'mixed multitude', the Israelites complain about the food: 'If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost; the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna. It was an appalling show of ingratitude, but not the first time the Israelites had behaved this way. Three similar episodes occurred previously and are recorded in the book of Exodus. Yet Moses' reaction this time is dramatically different: “I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me! If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now - if I have found favor in Your eyes - and do not let me face my own ruin.” What triggered this despair? And how did G-d respond and comfort him? And if Moses felt that the burden of leadership was unbearable, what gave him the strength to continue? One possible answer to these questions provides a simple but moving lesson in the importance for a student or disciple to give feedback and express appreciation to his mentor, even when the student thinks that his successes are completely insignificant in the shadow of his teacher’s greatness. A fascinating encounter between the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom Dovber Schneerson, and Dr. Sigmund Freud in 1903.