The Jewish Eye
Parshas Shemos (Shmot)
Rav Elyashiv - The Secret of Sefer "Shemos"?
The Ramban says that Sefer Shemos is called Sefer HaGalus and also Sefer HaGeula since it is the story of both the Bnei Yisroel's descent into Gauls Mitzrayim and their ultimate redemption. Not only is it the story of Galus and Geulas Mitzrayim but also encompasses the future Galus and Geulah.
Rav Elyashiv in Divrei Aggadah explains that Shemos is not simply the first significant word of this Sefer it is the actual reason for the Geula. The Medrash Yalkut Shimoni says that the name of each Shevet represents the future Galus. Two examples are Levi "V'Nilvu Goyim Rabim El Hashem" and Yosef "V'Haya BaYom HaHu Yosif Hashem Sheinis".
This says Rav Elyashiv explains the significance of the fact that they did not change their names in Mitzrayim. They kept these names and guarded them carefully because they did not give up on the Geula. Their names gave them hope and showed their faith. Because of this faith which was expressed by the keeping of their original names they were eventually redeemed. That is why the Sefer of Galus and Geula is called Sefer "Shemos". Similarly the future Geula will come if we have faith and live our life waiting for that day.
Vilna Gaon - The Work Was So Hard that Bnei Yisroel "Got Up and Went"
"VayiMararu Es Chayeyhem BiChomer UvilVainim"; ‘The Egyptians embittered the lives of Klal Yisroel with cement and bricks and all the hard work of the field".
By the Bris Bain HaBisarim, Hashem told Avraham that his descendants would be strangers in a land that does not belong to them for 400 years. We find that the Jews were only in Mitzrayim for 210 years? Rashi answers, 400 was not the number of years in Mitzrayim but rather the amount that they would be "Gayrim" in Mitzrayim and other lands. ("Yodoa Tayda Ki Ger Yihyeh Zaracha ...Arba Mei'os Shanah"). However, they were in Mitzrayim for only 210 years. Other Miforshim answer, that they were supposed to be in Mitzrayim for 400 years; however, since the work in Mitzrayim was so intense, the 210 years were as if they worked 400 years.
The Vilna Gaon finds a hint to this answer in the Trup of the words, "VayiMararu Es Chayeyhem" - ‘The Egyptians embittered the lives of Klal Yisroel". On the words "VayiMararu Es Chayeyhem" - the Trup is "Kadma ViAzla" - which means to," Get up and go". Why did the Jews get up and go out of Mitzrayim early, after 210 years? "VayiMararu Es Chayeyhem' - Because the Egyptians embittered the lives of Klal Yisroel. Therefore the 210 were equivalent to 400!
Shnayim Mikra is Hidden in the Words
"And these are the names of the Children of Israel" (Shmos 1:1). In conjunction with the public reading of the parsha, our Chachomim require that every individual learn it on his own and be familiar with its basic pshat. To achieve this level of mastery, they instituted a three-tiered review of the parsha: The text itself must be read twice, followed by Onkelos. Shnayim Mikrah Ve'echod Targum, "twice the text and once the translation of Onkelos", is the name of this mitzvah. A G-d fearing man should study Rashi's commentary in addition to Targum.
The Levush writes that it is hinted at (remez) in the first pasuk of this week's Parsha. The Hebrew letters of the pasuk "V'eila Shemos Bnei Yisroel" are an acronym for: V'chayav Adam Likros Haparsha Shnayim Mikra Ve'echod Targum Vze Chayavim Kol Bnei Yisroel".
Meshech Chochma - Moshe Was Going To Save Bnei Yisroel, How Could He Die?
In a roadside motel on the way down to Mitzrayim Moshe Rabbeinu was almost killed because he didn't give his son a Bris Milah. He was on his way to do the great mitzva of rescuing the entire Jewish nation. Why didn't this mitzva protect him?
The Meshech Chochma asks how can Moshe do something so seemingly irresponsible like bring his wife and children with him to Mitzrayim? He answers that Moshe was still not confident that the Bnei Yisroel would believe what he was going to tell them. He therefore brought his family to prove that Hashem was taking them all out of Mitzrayim or else he wouldn't dare bring his own family to get stuck there as well.
His family's coming to Mitzrayim was a continuation of his lack of faith in Bnei Yisroel's emunah. If not for this lack of emunah his son would not be on the trip with him in the first place. Therefore the mitzva of redeeming Bnei Yisroel could not save him.
Expect To Raise The Next Moshe Rabbeinu!
The Rama in Yoreh Deah (Siman 81 Sif 7) paskens that a child should not nurse from an Egyptian woman (or any other Akum), since it brings to Timtum HaLev (Stufffing up the Jewish heart) and bad tendencies (Teva Ra). The Biur HaGra states, the origin for this Halacha is in Parshas Shmos; where Moshe did not want to nurse from an Egyptian woman when Bisyah the daughter of Pharaoh found him at the banks of the Nile.
Rashi tells us, the reason why Moshe did not want to nurse from an Egyptian woman was because his mouth was "Peh SheAsid LiDaber Im HaShchinah" - "A mouth which was destined to speak to Hashem." It was therefore not befitting for such a mouth to nurse from a Gentile. R' Yaakov Kaminetsky (in Sefer Emes L'Yaakov) asks, if the whole reason is because of "Peh SheAsid LiDaber Im HaShchinah", why is this a practical Halacha that is brought down in Shulchan Aruch? Are we going to speak to Hashem? R' Yaakov answers, the Torah is teaching us one of the fundamentals of Chinuch. Every parent must look at his child as if he could one day be the one who will speak directly to Hashem. If one lowers the bar, his child doesn't stand a chance in this world. However, if the mindset of a parent is set for such lofty goals ("Peh SheAsid LiDaber Im HaShchinah"), then their child can and will achieve greatness!
Chasam Sofer - Bnei Yisroel Will Once Again Stand Proud Once Grabbed By the Tail
Moshe Rabbeinu was not a magician performing an entertaining magic show for Paroh. Each of the Mofsim that he performed were deep messages Hashem was sending to Paroh. The Chasam Sofer says that the first Mofes was to put into proper perspective the Bnei Yisroel's plight and Paroh's dominance over them.
Moshe Rabbeinu's "Mateh" (his rod) was a symbol of Bnei Yisroel's greatness. They were the proud rod of Hashem's glory in this world, "Mateh Oz Tiferes Hashem". Moshe was commanded to throw them down onto the floor. They were a great people that were thrown down and trampled under Paroh's feet like the low snake.
In the merit of their humiliation and their torment they will be redeemed. This is symbolized by Moshe grabbing the "tail" of the snake as opposed to the "head". When he grabbed the humble tail they once again became of proud "rod".
Back to top
A Different Kind of News
Questions or Comments? Send an email to:
Copyright © The Jewish Eye 2008 All Rights Reserved