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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

Why Me?

In Parshat Shemot we meet Moses for the first time. We learn about his beginnings, his family and Pharaoh's daughter who adopts him. We see him flee to Midian after murdering an Egyptian and then the story pivots dramatically when God calls Moses to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt. We have already learned about Moses' character but here we see his reluctance to take a leadership role. He does not see himself as being fit to lead.

Leadership is universally difficult. Individuals who say yes to leadership have to begin to see themselves in the role of a leader. I would imagine that this is not an easy thing to do and many people have many gates to unlock before they can see themselves taking charge.

This poem attempts to look at Moses as he is placed in this position, but really it looks at all of us, when we are called to a position of leadership.


What if we all said, "I cannot?"

I am too shy.

I am too tall.

I have no imagination.

I cannot find the right words.

I have no time.

I have no confidence.

Not me!!!!

I am too clumsy.

I have two left feet.

I am not suited for this.

I have no talents,

absolutely no gifts

I am ordinary!!!

I'm better in the background.

Are you kidding?

People will laugh at me!

People will look at me!

People won’t listen to me!

People will ignore me!

People will think I'm haughty

or a snob...

People will criticize me,

talk behind my back!

What do I have to say?

Who me?

Leaders are special,


Who am I?

I don't stand out!

I am drab,



I never excelled.

My parents said

I'd never go


It's not happening!

I have too much to do!

Maybe tomorrow.

Maybe next week.

Maybe she will do it.

She can do it better.

She is a leader.

I see it in her face,

in her stance.

I don’t have that knack.

Why me?

I’m too slow.

I am not smart enough.

I don't have the skills.

I don't have the desire.

I can't!

I shouldn't!

I mustn’t !

I wouldn't!

I couldn't!

I can't!

I won't!

Someone else can decide.

Someone else can take the risks.

Someone else can make the decisions.

Someone else can shoulder the burden,

bear the responsibility,

hear the voices of the people.

Let him lead.

Someone else can call the shots.

Someone else can take the bruises.

Someone else can have the ideas.

Someone else can reap the rewards.

Someone else can have all the answers.

Someone else can soothe and stroke.

Leave me be.

I am happy to follow.

I will do what they say.

Choose someone else.

I'll just disappear.


Maybe another day.

What if we all said no?

What if we all said we are not suited?

What if we all said we cannot?

What if we looked inside and stopped seeing

the don'ts,

the whys,

the excuses?

What if we look inside and find the courage?

Or maybe it is not courage, but

finding ourselves?

What if more of us said we can?

What if more of us said we can?

Exodus 3: 10-11 Translation from Sefaria

Come, therefore, I will send you to Pharaoh, and you shall free My people, the Israelites, from Egypt.”

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר מֹשֶׁה֙ אֶל־הָ֣אֱלֹהִ֔ים מִ֣י אָנֹ֔כִי כִּ֥י אֵלֵ֖ךְ אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֑ה וְכִ֥י אוֹצִ֛יא אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מִמִּצְרָֽיִם׃ But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and free the Israelites from Egypt?”

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