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26 Old Mill Road, Great Neck, NY 11023 (516) 487-6100                                                              Shabbat Announcements Shemot 5780
         Pharaoh’s daughter’s instant agreement. She knows; she   Instead of “Pharaoh’s daughter” read “Hitler’s daughter” or
         understands; she gives her consent.                  “Stalin’s daughter” and we see what is at stake. Tyranny
                                                              cannot destroy humanity. Moral courage can sometimes be
         Then comes the final surprise: When the child matured, [his   found in the heart of darkness. That the Torah itself tells
         mother] brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter. She adopted   the story the way it does has enormous implications. It
         him as her own son and named him Moses. “I bore him   means that when it comes to people, we must never
         from the water,” she said. (Ex. 2:10) Pharaoh’s daughter   generalize, never stereotype. The Egyptians were not all
         did not simply have a moment’s compassion. She has not   evil: even from Pharaoh himself a heroine was born.
         forgotten the child. Nor has the passage of time diminished   Nothing could signal more powerfully that the Torah is not
         her sense of responsibility. Not only does she remain   an ethnocentric text; that we must recognize virtue
         committed to his welfare; she adopts the riskiest of   wherever we find it, even among our enemies; and that
         strategies. She will adopt him and bring him up as her own   the basic core of human values – humanity, compassion,
         son. This is courage of a high order. Yet the single most   courage – is truly universal. Holiness may not be;
         surprising detail comes in the last sentence. In the Torah, it   goodness is.
         is parents who give a child its name, and in the case of a
         special individual, God Himself. It is God who gives the   Outside Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem,
         name Isaac to the first Jewish child; God’s angel who gives   is an avenue dedicated to righteous gentiles. Pharaoh’s
         Jacob the name Israel; God who changes the names of   daughter is a supreme symbol of what they did and what
         Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah. We have already   they were. I, for one, am profoundly moved by that
         encountered one adoptive name – Tzafenat Pa’neah – the   encounter on the banks of the Nile between an Egyptian
         name by which Joseph was known in Egypt; yet Joseph   princess and a young Israelite child, Moses’ sister Miriam.
         remains Joseph. How surpassingly strange that the hero of   The contrast between them – in terms of age, culture,
         the exodus, greatest of all the prophets, should bear not   status and power – could not be greater. Yet their deep
         the name Amram and Yocheved have undoubtedly used    humanity bridges all the differences, all the distance. Two
         thus far, but the one given to him by his adoptive mother,   heroines. May they inspire us.
         an Egyptian princess. A Midrash draws our attention to the
         fact: This is the reward for those who do kindness. Although
         Moses had many names, the only one by which he is known
         in the whole Torah is the one given to him by the daughter
         of Pharaoh. Even the Holy One, blessed be He, did not call
         him by any other name.

         Indeed Moshe – Meses – is an Egyptian name, meaning
         “child,” as in Ramses (which means child of Ra; Ra was the
         greatest of the Egyptian gods). Who then was Pharaoh’s
         daughter? Nowhere is she explicitly named. However, the
         First Book of Chronicles (4:18) mentions a daughter of
         Pharaoh, named Bitya, and it was she the sages identified
         as the woman who saved Moses. The name Bitya
         (sometimes rendered as Batya) means “the daughter of
         God.” From this, the sages drew one of their most striking
         lessons: “The Holy One, blessed be He, said to her: ‘Moses
         was not your son, yet you called him your son. You are not
         My daughter, but I shall call you My daughter.’” They
         added that she was one of the few people (tradition
         enumerates nine) who were so righteous that they entered
         paradise in their lifetime.

                              Great Neck Synagogue
                     26 Old Mill Road, Great Neck , NY 11023

                         Rabbi Dale Polakoff, Rabbi
                      Rabbi Ian Lichter, Assistant Rabbi
                       Rabbi Aron White, Intern Rabbi
                    Dr. Ephraim Wolf, z”l, Rabbi Emeritus
                           Yitzy Spinner, Cantor
                    Eleazer Schulman, z”l, Cantor Emeritus
                     Rabbi Sholom Jensen, Youth Director
                  Zehava & Dr. Michael Atlas, Youth Directors
                      Mark Twersky, Executive Director
                     Dr. James Frisch, Assistant Director
                          Erran Kagan, President
                   Harold Domnitch, Chairman of the Board
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