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Kushi Battle Long before Moshe became "Rabaynu" (Our teacher), the Kingdom of Cush was calling him "Malkaynu" (Our King).

When Moshe realized that he was an Israelite in Egyptian clothing, he headed out to the mud pits to check out the plight of his people. He had to leave Mitzrayim (Egypt) in a great hurry when he realized that someone (or two) saw him kill an Egyptian task master. He fled towards Midyan and arrived there around forty seven years later at the age of 67. Where was Moshe for forty seven years? It may just blow your mind to find that by the time Moshe and Bilam met in the Midbar (desert), (See Bamidbar, Parshat Balak), they were old enemies. Here's how it happened:

While the Bnai Yisroel suffered in bondage, the battle for independence was breaking out back East. In those days, the Kingdom of Cush was collecting taxes from cities of the East. When a rebellion broke out, Kinkos, King of Cush, assembled a huge army and set out to squash the squabble. Before he left, Kinkos put Bilam and his sons in charge of the kingdom.

Bad idea. As soon as Kinkos left, Bilam went to work. He gathered all the leaders of the city. In a quick coup, Bilam became the king and Kinkos lost his crown. But the question still remained: What happens when the King returns?

Meanwhile, Kinkos copped a major victory, putting those vassals back into a state of servitude. Now they would pay even more taxes to the regime. But, as Kinkos returned home, it became apparent that he, too, would pay a price - his kingdom!

Two sides of the city had huge fortified walls, the third side was cut off by a moat. The fourth side was fortified with a huge pit of poison snakes.

Kinkos and his men assumed that the city was fortified against a Canaanite enemy. Imagine their confusion when they discovered that they were the ones being kept out! Kinkos tried everything to penetrate the city; they scaled and swam, tippy-toed and attacked. In turn they were shot, drowned, bitten and defeated. Since Kinkos couldn't make it in, he decided to build a wall around the city so that no one could make it out. For nine years, Kinkos and his armies kept Cush under siege.

During the first year of that siege, Moshe arrived in Cush and joined Kinko's army. He was a mere lad of 20, but strong, full of courage and wisdom, and an expert at Egyptian battle tactics. Moshe whipped the army into shape and soon became a respected ranking advisor to the King.

Nine years into the siege, Kinkos died. The Cushite soldiers needed a new king and Moshe was at the top of the short list. The soldiers swore their allegiance to Moshe, the new Cushite King. But allegiance doesn't come cheap. Moshe's first order of business was to "take down the wall!"

Moshe had a plan, but in order for it to work, the soldiers had to agree to do everything Moshe ordered without questioning his intentions. No problem. Moshe was a wise man. He always acted rationally, why should they begin to doubt him now? A great shout of solidarity came from the newly invigorated crowd. Moshe commanded the soldiers to head out to the woods and look for... storks nests.

STORKS NESTS??!!? Well, if it was a bird hunt Moshe wanted, that's what he'd get! The men followed Moshe's instructions and spread out through the forest, each one gathering a newborn stork. When they returned, each man was holding a fledgling.

Next, Moshe ordered each soldier to raise and train his stork to follow his commands. This became priority one for the soldiers and as the weeks passed, the storks learned to swoop, dive and sit on their master's shoulder upon demand.

When the storks were properly trained, Moshe announced that the time had come to go to battle. The final command was to starve the storks for three days.

Three days later the soldiers armed themselves with swords, shields and starving storks and headed to the fortified city. But how would they breach the walls? They wouldn't! How could they swim the moat? They couldn't! How would they bypass the vipers? Well, any man with a starving stork on his shoulder should be able to figure out that answer!

Upon Moshe's signal the soldiers released the starving storks. The birds immediately and fearlessly attacked the snakes in the pit. Soon, there were no snakes left and the soldiers easily crossed the trench.

The city was easily overtaken. Eleven hundred of Bilam's men were slaughtered. Bilam and his sons escaped to Mitzrayim where they became Pharoh's chief advisors.

Moshe was a national hero in Cush. For forty years he ruled, squashing rebellions and taking care of royal business until Kinkos' son became mature and experienced enough to take the "reigns."

Moshe left the Kingdom for the destiny that awaited him in Midyan. There, he would marry and learn his greatest lessons of leadership as a shepherd, tending to the needs of even the smallest of his flock.

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