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“Moshe! Moshe! Moshe! Moshe!”
“Before I drink this wine, I’ll say Kiddush!”
“Let’s party like it’s Shabbat!”
Is Moshe Rabbeinu (Moshe Our Teacher) present in our college lives today?
This morning, you wake up at 7:00AM and say the Shema upon opening your eyes. You also perform the traditional hand washing ceremony before thanking Hashem for giving you back your Neshama (soul) to start the day. After this, you start Shacharit (morning prayers). Then, you run to the cafeteria to say the Hamotzi and eat breakfast before class: a bagel with cream cheese. You see bacon in the breakfast section of the room and walk away from it, because you keep kosher. Now, your stomach is full and you’re ready to learn.
You’re wide awake after some Starbucks coffee and you head to your foundational biology class.
Right as class starts, your professor impresses you with his knowledge of science: “Today we’re going to be reviewing Charles Darwin and his theories of biological evolution from a common ancestor without what he terms “divine intervention’”.
After biology, you head to lunch, because it is a mitzvah (positive commandment) to nourish oneself and take care of one’s body. After this, you make your way to the gym. You put on a random playlist; the one you’ve chosen is a great Israeli hits playlist about the love that Hashem puts into the world.
As nightfall hits, you say Mincha (afternoon prayers) and then start getting ready to head to the party. You dress in a way that you know will impress, but you remember the Jewish laws of Tznius (modest dress). This is just your personal preference, and you don’t like to shame others who choose other ways of life. By midnight, you’re swaying a little with the music, but you’re not drunk like the others are, because you’re a designated driver, and it’s your responsibility to stay sober and alert.
You’re thinking about telling your friend to stop drinking when an older gentleman approaches you and introduces himself as Moses. Initially, you’re shocked, but then you recall the Jewish prophecy of Mashiach (Messiah), and you realize that this could be Him. You can recognize specifically that it is Moshe Rabbeinu because of three primary behavioral indicators that distinguish him from the crowd:
Moshe was being kind to everyone around him. Moshe Rabbeinu knows what it is to be a stranger in a strange land, as the Israelite people were slaves in Egypt, so Moses does his best to make everyone feel welcome, no matter their race, religion, ethnicity, or appearance.
Moshe was trying his best to make sure everyone was safe. Moshe was the one man who Hashem chose to give the Israelities the Ten Commandments, so Moses knows the value of the law. Because of this, Moshe tried his best (within reason, because it is a party) to keep the rowdiness down.
Moshe gave his love to his people. Moses offered rides and advice to anyone at the party who needed it, which is classic Moshe: it is common Jewish knowledge that Moses loved his people more than himself (enough to give up his name in the Torah to save them from Hashem’s wrath).
Finding Moshe and his followers at a Christian college is like looking for a Jew in a Church— you won’t find any. In such a small, Christian school, it becomes necessary to be your own Jewish lifeline. A lifeline for your own values.
Have you ever wondered why you chose Austin College? You’ve been given a small corner of Texas to share your values in. Whether they be the ones of Moshe, of Jesus or of Mohammed, you have the chance to turn a community of young people into a more just and kind place.
Of course Moshe’s scene isn’t really a party, but he did his best in the place he chose to be that night. He instilled Jewish values where there weren’t any. You might think you don’t belong in a southern, Jesus-loving school, but you can make any place one that reflects your own heart.
Moshe introduced himself to you at the party— but really, he doesn’t care whether you are Jewish or not. He just wants the essence of kindness and justice to be spread to those who seek it. He wants you to remember your values at Austin College. And to walk a mile before you judge.
This article was inspired by Alex Anderson’s piece, “Jesus The Party Bro?”
Other Sources: https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/4350295/jewish/16-Facts-About-Moses-Every-Jew-Should-Know.htm