G-d prepares to reveal Himself to the Jews at Mount Sinai.
G-d said to [Moses], “Go to the people [and instruct them in preparation for the Revelation].”
G-d wanted to give the Ten Commandments. Moses was standing [atop Mount Sinai]. G-d said, “[If I say], ‘I am the L-rd your G-d,’ [the Jewish People] will say, ‘Who said it – G-d or Moses?’ Rather, let Moses descend, and then I shall say, ‘I am the L-rd your G-d.’” So G-d said to Moses, “Go to the people [and instruct them]…”
[G-d’s message to the people was a pretext; G-d hoped that Moses] would realize that He wants him to leave…. He did not want to tell [Moses] explicitly to leave, because He did not want to hurt his feelings.
[Commentary of Maharzu on Midrash]
- Why would Moses be insulted if G-d told him to leave? He had done nothing wrong! G-d simply wanted to make it clear that He was uttering the commandments, and not Moses. Couldn’t G-d have explained to him this simple rationale?
The words “You do not belong here” have an inherently hurtful connotation. Instead, G-d implied it, without actually saying it. Human beings are sensitive to nuances of speech, even when there is no logical difference in the meaning.
Sensitivity is not a sign of weakness; it is one of the essential qualities of being human. Moses, the greatest prophet of all time, was incomparably rational; he was also “the humblest of all men.” Yet even Moses could be affected by the choice of words, and G-d devised a strategy to avoid slighting him. We, too, must invest effort to ensure that our speech is always refined, sensitive and tactful.
 Numbers 12:3
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