Friday, January 9, 2015

Dvar Torah - Parshat Shmos

This week we are privileged to read the portion of Shmos. The second book of the Torah, begins with the difficulties and slavery which the Jews were subject to in Egypt. After Yosef and his brothers passed away the Egyptians offered the Jews work for pay, and then forced it on them without pay. Later, it turned out to be hard labor and slavery. Pharaoh was told by his astrological forecasters that the savior of the Jews was to be born, and pharaoh made a decree that all males be thrown into the river. Moshe was born (premature), and his mother his him for three months. Later she put him into the river in a box, as his sister (Miriam) stood by to see what will transpire. Basya, the daughter of pharaoh came to the river and saw the lad and decided to adopt him. Since Moshe would not accept her milk, Basya requested of Miriam that she get a jewish woman to feed the child. Moshe was brought to his mother Yocheved daily and she fed him physically and spiritually so that he can survive in pharaoh's palace. Later Moshe's identity was revealed, as he tried assisting his brethren, and pharaoh wanted to Kill him. Moshe miraculously escaped and wound up in Midyan. In Midyan Moshe met Tzipora, the daughter of Yisro, and marries her. Years have passed and the Jews were suffering terribly and G-d reveals himself to Moshe in a bush and tells him to go and request of pharaoh to free the jewish people. At first Moshe refused, but later he accepted and began the process which later led to the redemption of the Jewish nation from Egypt.

There's a fascinating message to be learned from this portion. Many times people think they can outsmart Hashem, and they do things despite they know they shouldn't, thinking it's going to help them. It never works!

In Shmos 1/10 Pharaoh tells his advisors let's outsmart "him", maybe he will increase and war occur, they will join our enemies and leave the land. Pharaoh was adamant that the Jews remain in Egypt. He therefore took several steps to guarantee his foolishness. First he chose to dictate their lives and force them into hard labor. We know that the Jewish people were meant to be slaves for 400 years, and only because of the hard labor Hashem subtracted 190 years and they were freed after 210 years. Turns out that Pharaoh's plan to outsmart the Jews, and keep them, actually freed them earlier. He then gave a decree that all infant males be throw into the river, to rid himself of the Jewish savior who was to be born. This in turn caused Pharaoh himself to be the one who raised the Jewish savior - Moshe, in his own palace.
The message for us is that when we see that G-d leads us in certain ways, we can make limited effort in a permissible way to improve our situation but we must always remember it is Hashem and only Hashem who decides our fate.

Gut Shabbos!

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