“And then what happened?” Gereshom asked, for what had to be the seventh time.
His father didn’t seem to notice the repetition. “Then, Pharaoh’s daughter came to take a bath in the river, and she found–”
“Wait!” said Eliyezer. “I have a question! Wouldn’t the crocodiles eat her?”
Mosheh laughed. “No, they wouldn’t eat her. She came there often…” Mosheh was lost in thought again, and Tsipporah smiled. This happened every time the boys asked about Egypt. Today, though, there was something more–something new coming, and Tsipporah could feel it.
“And then what happened?” Gereshom asked. He had to ask it this time, or Mosheh might not have remembered what he was telling them.
“She found a baby, and kept him as her very own. And she called his name…”
“Mosheh!” they both yelled together.
“Drawn out!” they yelled, even louder.
“Shhh…” Tsipporah warned. “You’ll disrupt your aunts!”
Giggles in the next tent told her that it was too late. They didn’t care, though. They’d heard this story many times in the last forty years, and every time it was retold, it was always the same.
“But,” said Eliyezer, “Didn’t you like Egypt? Hadn’t you always lived there? Did you know that the Israelites were your people? What about–”
“Shhhh!” Gereshom said. “Let him tell. You’ll find out.”
Mosheh shook his head slowly, as if seeing the pyramids in his head. “Egypt had great treasures, Eliyezer. There were many great things there, things that could have made me happy, for a while. But Eliyezer, there is something greater than all the wealth of Egypt! Do you know what that is?”
Eliyezer nodded. “Yehovah Elohiym,” he said solemnly.
Mosheh smiled. “Yes, the Lord God. And He led me to protect a man of my own people who was in danger. Somehow, people found out. And I knew that much as I wanted to be one with my people, it could not last. Elohiym led me to Midian, where I met your mother, Tsipporah.”
They smiled at each other, remembering those days when he was trying to leave his life as an Egyptian prince, ignore the groanings of his people as Israelite slaves, and learn the skills needed to become a Midianite shepherd.
“And then what happened?” Gereshom asked.
“That’s not hard,” Eliyezer said. “You were born, I was born, and we lived in Midian with our grandfather, our six aunts, and our uncles, and our hundreds of sheep.”
Gereshom yawned slowly.
“Hmmm…” said Tsipporah. “Is someone tired?”
“No…” said Gereshom. “So…is anything else going to happen?”
His father smiled at him, at them both. “Maybe,” he said. “Right now it is time for the two sons of Mosheh and Tsipporah to go to sleep while their parents talk.”
“Okay,” Eliyezer said. “Good night…”
“What is it?” Tsipporah asked softly as they slipped out of the tent into the night.
“I saw a burning bush today,” he said. “And… God–the God of my people Israel–was in it. He told me to go back to Egypt, to bring out our people from slavery.”
She looked at him with fear in her eyes. “Not back there,” she said quickly. “You know he’ll kill you! No, Mosheh. We are not going back to Egypt.”
More quietly she added, “You have left that past behind you. God has led you here, to the desert. He’s not told you to leave!”
“He’s telling me now,” Mosheh said softly.
“Tsipporah, look up at the stars.”
She looked up, wondering what kind of promise he was going to give her now.
“Yehovah told Abraham, our father, that his children would be as many as the stars in the sky. He promised that, after the time of their slavery, they would come back to the land where Abraham traveled. Tsipporah, He’s asking me to lead them.”
She shook her head. “You’re just a man, Mosheh, not a prophet, not a leader for these people! There are so many!”
“Tsipporah,” he said. “Yehovah has called me to do this. He will lead us. He will protect us.”
Mosheh smiled. “You know, Tsipporah, I might write an autobiography someday. And if I do, these first eighty years will fill only about four chapters. But the rest of my life–what happens when God leads us–that could fill four books!”
Thanks for reading!