Torah Teaser – Parshat Shemos Questions & Answers – December 30 2015-5776

Too Many Jewish Males In Mitzrayim “Vayakutzu Mipnei Bnei Yisrael; The Mitzrim were disgusted with Bnei Yisrael,” (Shemos 1:12). The Ben Ish Chai asks, “Why is it that the Mitzrim were only disgusted with the male population and not the female?
He answers with the Gemara Brachos 60a that says that if the man is mazria first, the child that is conceived will be girl, but if the woman is mazria first, the child will be a boy. Since the men were weakened from all the back breaking labor that the Mitzrim forced them to do, the women were typically mazria first, and most of the burgeoning population was male. It was this explosion of baby boys that disgusted the Mitzrim.
“Furthermore,” says the Ben Ish Chai, “we see the Rishus of the Mitzrim who just wanted to torture the Jews and were less interested in the actual building. If the Mitzrim were unhappy with the amount of male born, they could have lightened the workload of the men which would have resulted in less boys and more girls. Yet the next pasuk says that despite the male tendency of the births, ‘Vayaavidu Mitzrayim Es Bnei Yisrael B’Farech,’ they continued to work them to the bone.”
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False Moshiach In Mitzrayim? When told by Hashem to go to Mitzrayim and take out Bnei Yisroel, Moshe Rabbeinu asks Hashem why Bnei Yisroel will believe that Hashem sent him. Hashem tells him to tell them “Pakod Pakaditi” which is the Siman of the true Go’el that was passed down from Yosef throughout the generations. The Ramban asks, if everyone knew this siman then it wasn’t much of a secret, so what guaranteed the integrity of the person saying it. Anyone can say it even an impostor? He gives two answers. First that part of Hashem’s promise for the geula and the simanim was that no impostors would come. The first one that would come would be the true Go’el. Another answer he says is that this is the reason Moshe was cut off from his father’s house. Had he grown up by Amram, they would not have believed him, and they would have thought he knew the siman from his father. Growing up in Paroh’s palace and being exiled from Mitzrayim at a young age gave him credibility when he arrived fresh on the scene with the long awaited sign.
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The Torah Moves Fast Forward 60 Years In Mid Pasuk The Ramban says that between the time that Moshe ran away from Mitzrayim and the time he arrived at the well in Midyan, sixty years had elapsed. The Sefer HaMasiyos tells how Moshe became a powerful King in Kush and fought many wars. Yet the Torah doesn’t give the slightest hint to any of this. In fact the pasuk says Paroh wanted to kill Moshe and then, “Vayivrach Moshe Mipnei Paroh Vayeishev B’Eretz Midyan.” (Shemos 2:15). In one pasuk, in one breath, the Torah says he ran away from Mitzrayim and suddenly was in Midyan. Why the absolute total ignorance of these years?
Rav Michel Feinstein says that we see a very important lesson here. The Torah is about Nitzchiyus, eternity. Nothing that is not related to eternity is mentioned or even hinted. Every last story, word, and letter are eternal. Despite that half the life of our great hero Moshe was as a major world leader, it made no difference whatsoever as far as the nitzchiyus of Klal Yisrael was concerned, and therefore was omitted even in any subtle hint.
“We must realize,” says Rav Michel, “that when we come up to Shamayim the only thing that will be looked at are the things that contributed to our nitzchiyus. We may have been busy with great accomplishments during our life, but they will disappear in the eternal world. We will be quite saddened to come to Shamayim with only a tiny fraction of our lives that actually mattered.”
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Why Did Moshe So Badly Not Want To Be The Redeemer? For days on end Moshe Rabbeinu argued with Hashem, who asked him to go to Mitzrayim. Then Moshe tells Hashem to send Aharon (Shemos 4:13). Why would Moshe refuse the command of Hashem? Why does Moshe recommend others for the job, is Hashem not capable of finding the right man by Himself?
Rav Moshe Feinstein explains that until now Moshe was not a Navi. His older brother, Aharon, was a Navi and the great leader of Bnei Yisrael in Mitzrayim. Moshe expected Hashem to take Bnei Yisrael out of Mitzrayim in grand fashion. In his modesty, when Hashem told him that he would be the Goel, he was sure that Hashem chose him because he was of far lower stature, and Hashem didn’t really want to take Bnei Yisrael out, but was only doing so to fulfill his promise to the Avos. Hashem was showing his displeasure by choosing Moshe.
Moshe’s modesty was not about refusing Hashem, but rather about his desire to see a great geula filled with Hashem’s love. Being chosen pained Moshe tremendously. He davened and fought with Hashem to march them out with a great leader like Aharon, his brother, and not through the back door with a lowly leader like himself.
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Too Bad Avrohom Wasn’t Like Moshe After Moshe made his first appearance before Paroh which resulted in harder treatment for the Bnei Yisrael, Moshe complained to Hashem (Shemos 5:23), “Heira L’Am Hazeh V’Hatzel Lo Hitzalta; It has been bad for them and you haven’t saved them.” The Gemara in Sanhedrin states (111a) that Hashem answered back, “Chaval Diavdin V’lo Mistakchim.” Rashi explains that Hashem lamented his loss of the great Avos who heard worse news about the Galus and suffered more setbacks, yet didn’t utter a word of complaint.
The Kotzker Rebbe learns the opposite. Hashem said, “Chaval Diavdin V’lo Mistakchim.” it was a great loss that when I told the Avos about the Galus they were at a loss and did not stand up to complain like Moshe did. Had they done that, there may not even have been a Galus in the first place. “A true leader,” says the Kotzker Rebbe, “stands up bravely even against Hashem to save his people. And that is the way Hashem wants it.”

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