פ’ שמות תשע”ח
Volume 22, Issue 1
INSIGHTS from the SEDRA
Insights from the Sedra is a project of the Scholar’s Kollel of Great Neck. It aims to provide several questions and answers about the Sedra, culled from various commentaries, including the following: Baal Haturim, Darash Moshe, Vedebarta Bam by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky, Torah Treasures by Dov Furer, Wellsprings of Torah by Alexander Friedman, and Kol Dodi by Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, Great Torah Lights by Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Goodman, Something To Say by Dov Wasserman, The Vilna Gaon, and Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin.
מדוע עשיתן הדבר הזה ותחיין את הילדים ותאמרנה…כי לא כנשים המצריות העבריות
“Why have you done this thing in that you have kept the boys alive? The midwives said…because the Jewish women are unlike the Egyptian women…” (1:18-19)
The Gemara (Nedarim 28a) states that one is required to obey the laws of the country in which one lives. However, if the government discriminates against the Jews and legislates laws only against Jews, then the Jews are not required to obey (Beit Yosef, Choshen Mishpat, Chap. 369).
This engenders a new explanation of the dialogue between Pharaoh and the Jewish midwives. Pharaoh asked the midwives why were they disobeying the laws of the land and not killing the newborn Jewish boys. The midwives responded that “the Jewish women are not similar to the Egyptian women” in this decree, i.e. only the Jewish women were being oppressed, and therefore they were not required to obey. Thereupon, Pharaoh passed a decree that all newborn males – Jewish and Egyptian – should be given equal treatment and killed (1:22). (Shev Shma’atsa)
ותקרא שמו משה
“She called him Moshe…” (2:10)
QUESTION: Why is he called “Moshe Rabbeinu”, while the Rambam is known as “Rabbeinu Moshe”?
ANSWER: Though Moshe had many names (see Midrash Rabbah Vayikra 1:3), the name his parents gave him at birth was not “Moshe”. If so, why throughout the 120 years of his life did he keep as his official name the name “Moshe”, which he first received three months after his birth?
Indeed, he was well aware that his original name was not “Moshe”. However, he retained his name to never forget one who had acted toward him with great kindness. Whenever he was addressed as “Moshe”, it would remind him of his being drawn from the water by Batya, the daughter of Pharaoh, and he would thank her in his heart. Thus, the term “Rabbeinu” follows the word “Moshe” to indicate that the name “Moshe” is Rabbeinu – it teaches a lesson to humanity on hakarat hatov – to recognize kindness and express gratitude. On the other hand, the Rambam is renowned for his scholarly works, through which he has educated generations of Jews. Therefore, he is affectionately known as “Rabbeinu Moshe” – “Our teacher, Moshe ben Maimon.”
Incidentally, it is most appropriate that the words “Moshe Rabbeinu” (משה רבינו) have the numerical value of 613, since he gave us the Torah which consists of 613 mitzvot. Also, “Rabbeinu Moshe” adds up to 613 because in his monumental work known as Mishneh Torah, he expounded all of the 613 mitzvot. (Yalkut Reuveni)
של נעליך מעל רגליך
“Remove your shoes from your feet.” (3:5)
QUESTION: Why did Hashem order Moshe to remove his shoes?
ANSWER: Unlike one who wears shoes, one who walks barefoot feels even the smallest piece of debris. In preparing Moshe to be the leader and teacher of Klal Yisrael, Hashem stressed the importance of “sensitivity”. A leader must be sensitive to even the minutest detail concerning his people. (Ol’lelot Ephraim)
ויאמר משה…לא איש דברים אנכי…כי כבד פה וכבד לשון אנכי
“Moshe said…I am not eloquent…my speech is impaired and my tongue is slow…” (4:10)
QUESTION: Logically, Moshe was right. Why did Hashem choose an emissary who was tongue-tied?
ANSWER: Pharaoh was very stubborn about freeing the Jews from Egyptian bondage. Moreover, Hashem hardened his heart and he became even more reluctant. Due to a series of wonders and miracles designed to demonstrate Hashem’s power, the Jews were enabled to leave Egypt.
If the Jewish leader had been a renowned articulate and eloquent speaker, some people could have erroneously credited Israel’s liberation from Egypt to his power of persuasion. Therefore, Hashem selected Moshe who was not eloquent. Thus, his power of speech would never be seen as the cause of the redemption of the Jewish people from Egypt. (Drashot HaRan)
Rav Yitzchak of Vorka zt”l would say:
“When Pharaoh’s daughter stretched out her hand to reach Moshe’s watery cradle, her arm was miraculously increased in length. We learn from her actions that when a person sincerely wishes to help another, he shouldn’t stop to think if it ‘pays’ or if it is even feasible. Rather, he must immediately do his part and ‘extend his hand’ to his fellow man.”
This week’s publication is sponsored by the Steinberg family for a refuah sheleimah for Avraham Chaim ben Penina. For future sponsorship opportunities please call Steve Zuckerman at 516 652 5266 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Rabbi Lichter at email@example.com. Sponsorships in memory of or in honor of someone are $50.00 per issue.