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Moses and His Uncircumcised Son

Question: Why was G-d trying to kill Moses (Exodus 4:24-26) on his return to Egypt with his wife and son? Was it due to him not circumcising his son yet?

Answer: Moses was in a bit of a quandary – his new born son was due to have his circumcision on the same day that G-d commanded Moses to return to Egypt – There were 3 options:

a) Moses could have circumcised his son and left for Egypt immediately – but traveling within 3 days of the circumcision would be dangerous for the baby’s health

b) He could have performed the circumcision and then waited for 3 days until the baby was out of danger, but that would delay carrying out G-d’s command to return to Egypt.

c) He could begin traveling, thus fulfilling G-d’s command and then perform the circumcision at an inn along the way.

Moses’ choice of the 3rd option seems to be a reasonable compromise and its hard to understand how that choice would warrant a death sentence. Thus the Midrash tells us that the real reason for G-d’s anger was that when Moses arrived at an inn, he first involved himself getting settled in, rather than immediately performing the circumcision.

Yours sincerely,
Ari Lobel

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