Today’s post is a companion to yesterday’s post about freedom. These twin virtues were forever united in the person of Moses, a central figure in the Hebrew Bible. Moses also is prominent in the Christian New Testament and in the Muslim Quran.
As liberator and lawgiver, Moses represents freedom and responsibility. Two sets of Moses stories are woven together. The “Wilderness tradition” begins at Exodus 16.1 and ends at Numbers 36.17. Inserted within the wilderness stories is the “Sinai tradition” of the Ten Commandments and other laws (Exodus 19.1 through Numbers 10.10).
Children and youth appropriately must learn essential boundaries. We first experience law as simple rules. My first memory of boundary violation was when I pedaled my tricycle past the alley entrance just beyond our next-door neighbor’s house. I did that just once. As we demonstrate rule-observance, parents allow more freedom. Overbearing parents stifle freedom. Non-responsive parents fail to provide appropriate boundaries.
Freedom and responsibility are forever intertwined. When responsibility isn’t included alongside freedom, responsibility becomes an undervalued faith theme.