Va'era: Searching for G-d?
"G-d spoke to Moshe, and said to him, 'I am the Lord. I revealed myself to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as G-d Almighty, but My name YHVH I did not allow them to know'" (Shemot 6:2). While the exact meaning of this verse is not easily understood--after all, the name YHVH is used often in sefer Breisheet--what is most clear is that G-d was about to reveal himself in a manner that was hitherto unknown. Many explain...Continue Reading »
VaEra: 137 and Counting
One hundred and thirty seven is not a number that would appear to have much significance, at least not from a Jewish perspective. Yet the Torah found it necessary to record that Levi lived to that age (Shemot 6:16). A mere four verses later we are told that Amram, Moshe's father, also lived to the age of 137. As Moshe and Aaron are about to set in motion the redemption of the Jewish people, the Torah “digresses” and records the...Continue Reading »
VaEra: The Right Reason
Sometimes the reason why one does something can be even more important than what was actually done. While our Sages note that one should strive to perform mitzvoth even for the wrong motives, the commentaries note exceptions to this rule (see, for example, a fascinating responsa of the Netziv, Meisheev Davar 1:46, in which he notes that the opening of new synagogues in an established neighbourhood is generally forbidden). It appears...Continue Reading »
VaEra: Status Quo
"And they did not listen to Moshe, from short spirit and hard work" (7:9). Moshe had a daunting dual task before him. Not only did he need to demonstrate to Pharaoh that he must free his slaves, he needed to convince the Jewish people that they would be better off following him into the desert. And the latter was a prerequisite for the former."Even the Israelites will not listen to me; how can I expect Pharaoh to listen to me?" (7:12). Moshe...Continue Reading »