What's P'shat?

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Six Approaches to Moshe’s “Heavy Mouth” (Shemot)

What's P'shat?

Note: A portion of this essay, originally posted in 2015, has been reprinted in Moe Mernick’s The Gift of Stuttering, published by Feldheim Publishers and available here: http://www.feldheim.com/the-gift-of-stuttering.html.


The English language offers us many idioms to describe those who experience difficulty speaking. If one enunciates poorly, we might say he has “marbles in his mouth.” If his voice is raspy, we’d say he has a “frog in his throat.” And if he’s unusually reticent, we’d say that he’s “tongue tied,” or that the “cat’s got his tongue.”

But what does it mean if we say that someone is “of heavy mouth and tongue?” That is how Moshe refers to himself in our Torah portion (Exod. 4:10). Though many of us are familiar with this expression, we don’t often pause to consider its precise meaning. Let’s do that this week. Together, we will look at six approaches to understanding the phrase “כבד…

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2 Comments

  1. Mike Shriqui says:

    Hey Alex,

    Hope you and Blima are doing great!

    Thank you for your superb and thoughtful essay. Your use of ancient stories was fascinating. I am grateful you took the time and spent the energy to put this out.

    Shabbat Shalom my friend. 🙂

  2. joesbar.mitzvah@yahoo.com says:

    Good shabbos alexJoe

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