08 January 2010

"In Through the Back Door"

BS"D

YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI
Jerusalem, Israel
HaRav Yehuda Kreuser SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva

PARSHAT SHEMOT
23 Tevet 5770/8-9 January 2010

IN THROUGH THE BACK DOOR

"And the child grew and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son."

Our parsha reveals to us an amazing chain of events unparalleled in world history. King Pharaoh comes out with harsh decrees against the Jewish people, killing their male babies and using Jewish blood to bathe in. When his astrologers foresaw that a savior would arise and free the Jewish people (but unknown to them was from which nation he would come from), Pharaoh had all males killed, including from his own people. So great was his concern and fear, that daily his special troops would go out and search the land, carefully noting each woman's pregnancy, and when they gave birth the male babies would be put to death at once.

It was in these horrific and alarming times that Moshe was born. Placing him on the banks of the Nile, his sister Miriam waited to see his fate. Moshe is miraculous rescued by none other than the daughter of Pharaoh himself, who took him into the palace. As this is not enough that a Jewish boy survives, his own mother Yocheved is hired to nurse him. Not only does she have the joy of seeing her son alive, but she also gets paid for it.

"And he became a son to her". Moshe is raised on the knees of Pharaoh, all who see him in the kingdom fall in love with this cute little boy who can do no harm. And no one puts two and two together: that there is a decree to kill all male children. And here, under their very noses, Moshe is arising. The Midrash teaches us that just as Moshe was raised in the very place that decreed to kill him - so, too, our long-awaited Messiah will be raised among Edom (Esau), who do all in their power to stop him from coming and redeeming his people, as the prophet Isaiah tells us: "There shall he lie down and consume its branches."

This effort on the part of Edom to stop the redemption of the Jewish people, we find in earlier times in the story of Yehuda and Tamar, his daughter-in-law. After she was accused of adultery and was being led to her death, she refused to embarrass Yehuda and say that from him she was impregnated; rather, she stated that from the person who left the staff and ring she became impregnated, and she asked him to identify them. At that moment, our rabbis teach us that the angel of Edom, "Sam", came and hid the staff and ring so as not to have the sign and proof to show that this came about from Yehuda, in order for her to be put to death. Why? "Uncle Sam"
knew that through this union of Tamar and Yehuda would come the Messiah and he therefore wanted her dead, but the great defender of the Jewish people, the angel Gabriel, came to the defense of the Jewish people and returned the items to Tamar.

One may wonder: Would it not have been better to have the future redeemer of the Jewish people raised in the best Yeshiva that Egypt had to offer? Would one not expect that Moshe would be the star student in Talmud in his class? But this was not the case. Rather, Moshe grows up in a gentile environment, right in harm's way. Who among us would have wanted Moshe as a son-in-law for our daughter - someone from the other side of town, not part of our crowd? The Nativ in his commentary writes: "Let us not give advice to G-d how to bring the redemption to the Jewish people", and adds that in his day, people spoke against the fact that Jews were returning to the Land of Israel and that Baron Rothschild was buying land for Jewish workers who were
not all keepers of the Shabbat day. Most religious Jews were against the return to Zion, seeing who the returnees were, but the Nativ said anyway that we should not advise G-d how to redeem His people.

To this day, one still hears the voices of the deniers of Redemption that in Israel there are many problems in Torah learning, education of the young, etc. To them we say that the words of the Nativ ring true: Let us not give advice to Hashem how to bring about the Redemption, which is unfolding before our eyes. For the Redemption will come about through the back door, and those who have not entered will be left locked out.

Blessings friom Jerusalem,
Levi Chazen