Friday, January 20, 2012

Two Conversations: 1. Captain Schettino of the ill-fated Costa Concordia with the Italian coastguard Gregorio De Falco.
De Falco: "Listen Schettino, there are people trapped aboard, you go with your lifeboat under the prow of the ship on the port side and you go aboard the ship using the rope ladder. You go aboard and you tell me how many people there are. Is it clear? I'm recording this conversation, Commander Schettino." Schettino: "Commander, right now the ship is skewed." De Falco: "Understood. Listen … you take that rope ladder on the opposite side, you go aboard and you tell me the number of people and what they have on board. Is that clear? You tell me whether there are children, women or people needing assistance. ..Is that clear? Schettino, maybe you saved yourself from the sea, but I'll make you pay for sure. Go aboard." Schettino: "Commander, please?" De Falco: "Please, now you go aboard." ….Do you refuse?" Schettino: "No, no I'm not refusing." De Falco: "You're refusing to go aboard, commander, tell me why you're not going." Schettino: "Do you realise that it's dark here and we can't see a thing?" De Falco: "And what, do you want to go home, Schettino? It's dark, so you want to go home...? Go on the prow of the ship... You've been telling me this for one hour. Go aboard. Go aboard… Schettino: "Ok commander." De Falco: "Go, quickly." ------ 2. G-d and Moses. G-d: "I have seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and I have heard their cry because of their slave drivers, I know their pains....So now come, and I will send you to Pharaoh, and take My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt’ Moses: Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should take the children of Israel out of Egypt?" G-d: "..I will be with you.. Moses:.. “I come to the children of Israel, and I say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" G-d: “…So shall you say..:, 'The Lord God of your forefathers .. has sent me to you.'.. I will stretch forth My hand and smite the Egyptians with all My miracles …afterwards he will send you out. Moses:".. they will not believe me, and they will not heed my voice, ..they will say, 'The Lord has not appeared to you.' G-d: ..if they do not believe you, and they do not heed the voice of the first sign, they will believe the voice of the last sign. Moses: "I beseech You, O Lord. I am not a man of words… for I am heavyof mouth and heavy of tongue." G-d: "Who gave man a mouth, o rwho makes [one] dumb or deaf or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? ..So now, go! I will be with your mouth, and I will instruct you what you shall speak. Moses: "I beseech You, O Lord, send now [Your message] with whom You would send." G-d: (G-d’s wrath was kindled against Moses )"Is there not Aaron your brother…he will speak for you to thepeople, and it will be that he will be your speaker, and you will be his leader. Moses comes to Egypt, indeed the Israelites believe him, that G-d had remembered them. But, when they came to Pharaoh, it made things worse, unbearably worse for the Israelite slaves. Moses: "O Lord! Why have You harmed this people? Why have You sent me? Since I have come to Pharaoh..he has harmed this people, and You have not saved Your people. G-d: "Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh. -- The conversations may have similarities, but they are very different. What happened to Moses? First came the excuse of humility; how do I explain G-d; they won’t believe me. Running out of excuses: but I have a speech impediment? The Chassidic masters explain that Moses knew that he would not merit bringing Israel into the Holy Land and thereby achieve the ultimate redemption of his people. He knew that Israel would again be exiled and suffer the afflictions of exile. So Moses refused to go. ‘Send the one through whom You will affect the complete and eternal redemption.' For seven days and nights Moses jeopardises his very relationship with G-d for the sake of his people and contested G-d's script for history, and incurred G-d's wrath for the sake of Israel. Moses never did accept the decree of exile. After assuming, by force, G-d's command to take Israel out of Egypt, he continued a lifelong struggle to make this the final redemption. To the very last day of his life, Moses pleaded with G-d to allow him to lead his people into the Holy Land; knowing that thereby they would never have been exiled again and the Temple would never again get destroyed This is a true leader. May this final exile end soon.

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