The story of Passover begins with Moses walking in the desert and seeing a burning bush but somehow the bush is not consumed by the fire. Moses is drawn to the bush and God then gives him the mission of taking the Jews out of Egypt..
Why the burning bush? Why is Moses’ mission to bring out the Jewish people connected to a bush on fire but does not get consumed?
I want to share a story with you about Glenn Cunningham. Glenn was born in Kansas 1909. When he was six years old, he and his nine year old brother, Floyd were given the job during the winter months to light the fires in the school stoves so the rooms would be warm by the time the teacher and other students arrived.
One very cold morning in February, 1916, the two boys loaded up the large stove with wood and then soaked the logs with kerosene as they always did. But that morning something went terribly wrong. Floyd struck the match, dropped it into the stove and there was an explosion of fire that engulfed Floyd in a sheet of flames.
Someone had mistakenly filled the kerosene container with gasoline. Floyd died from his terrible burns and the doctors told their mother that Glen would likely not survive due to devastating burns on the lower half of his body.
But to the amazement of his doctor, Glen survived. But the fire had destroyed his motor ability. His thin legs just dangled there, lifeless. Glen was confined to a wheelchair, with no use of his lower limbs. His mother refused to let the doctors amputate.
Glen refused to accept the verdict that he would be a cripple. He was determined to walk. Every day his mother and father would massage his little legs, but there was no feeling, no control, nothing. But Glen would not give up. One day his mother wheeled him out into the yard to get some fresh air. Glen threw himself from the chair and pulled himself across the grass, dragging his legs behind him. He worked his way to the picket fence and raised himself up, and then stake by stake, he began dragging himself along the fence, resolved that he would walk. With iron determination Glen did this every day until he developed the ability to stand, then to walk, and then…yes…to run.
With sheer joy, he ran everywhere that he could. By the time he was 12, he had beaten all the local high school runners. Later in college he made the track team, He was nicknamed “Kansas Flyer.”
In February 1934, in Madison Square Garden, this boy who was never expected to survive, who would surely never walk, who could never hope to run – this boy ran the world’s fastest mile!
Like Glen’s doctors, Moses looked at the Jewish people and saw how badly “burned” they were on the outside. He saw how terribly abused they were in Egypt and he assumed that they would never be able to regain their faith. There was no hope. But the Almighty chose the Burning Bush to teach Moses a crucial lesson: “Sometimes in life, something can seem so badly burnt on the outside, but inside it is very much still alive.” Do not give up on the Jewish People.
One of the underlying messages of Passover is to never give up on anyone, no matter what.
Never give up on an elderly parent in the hospital…believe they can recover.
Never give up on challenging relationships…believe they can be repaired.
Never give up on your marriage…believe love can be recreated.
Never give up on your children…believe in their talents, their desire to do good.
Never give up in life, believe in yourself.
And never give up on the Almighty.
Because He believes in you.
Freedom, the burning bush and the incredible true story of Glenn Cunningha by Rabbi Tzvi Sytner.