The young Moshe was destined to become the greatest Jewish leader of all time, yet he was not a great public speaker. In fact, he didn’t speak clearly at all!
Here’s the story that explains Moshe’s speech defect:
One day, Moshe was sitting on Paraoh’s lap. The little boy playfully grabbed at Paraoh’s jeweled crown. He took it off Paraoh’s head and placed it on his own head.
One of Paraoh’s advisors exclaimed, “Your Highness. Did you see what I just saw? This baby wants your crown today… what’s next? Your whole kingdom? He could be the one who was meant to take the Jews out of their slavery. It would be best to get rid of him now, before that prediction comes true!”
Another advisor disagreed: “Don’t be silly. He’s just a child. All children like shiny, sparkly things. Come to think of it, what baby wouldn’t reach for the king’s golden crown?”
To settle the dispute, they set up a test. They placed two bowls in front of Moshe, one filled with gold coins, and the other with bright, red-hot coals. If Moshe reached for the coals, they would know that he is just a normal child, attracted to shiny objects and would be allowed to live. But if he was smart enough to reach for the gold, that would prove that he understood the value of the king’s crown and could be a threat to the kingdom.
Little Moshe looked at the gold. He looked at the coals. He knew perfectly well that the gold was much more valuable, and naturally reached out for it…
Suddenly, a Malach (angel), sent by HaShem, pushed Moshe’s hand into the bowl of coals! By accident one of the coals flew into his mouth… OUCH!
Paraoh’s fears were laid to rest, but Moshe’s tongue was badly burned, which caused him to stutter from that day on.