Saturday, December 29, 2007

DVAR TORAH S2: Shemot (The Next Generation)

And now we arrive at the final central human character of the Bible: Moshe.

There is so much I could focus on. Let's start at the beginning. Boy meets girl, they have a son during times of persecution in which all the males are to be thrown, drowned in the sea. Moses is put into the very same body of water, but in a basket. He became a prince of egypt when adopted by the childless daughter of Pharaoh, who, due to her mercy for the infant, got the name Batya, (House of God). We then skip a number of years of Moses' life. What was his childhood like? I think it is really important to know that he even through his ordeal as the adopted son of pharaoh (and some maintain crown prince and heir apparent) he was not too mired in the evils of Egypt to try to prevent injustice against the helpless Israelites. The immediate next verse after he's drawn out of the water and given the name Moshe for that reason is that one day he saw an Egyptian beating up a Jewish slave and Moses, furious at the injustice, kills the Egyptian and buries him. Not as well known is the next story (omitted from most Moses related movies such as the Ten Commandments and Prince of Egypt): the next day moses chides two fighting Israelites, one of which says (in classical Jewish guilt-inspiring sarcasm), "are you going to kill us like you killed the egyptian?" It is at this point he flees. The moral here seems to be that killing the Egyptian taskmaster was not the ideal choice. As a prince it was within his legal right to kill anyone, but it is not ideal in Judaism. Note that in the future his brother Aaron will be noted as the person who handles situations peacefully and that Moses' temper will do him in. Careful, Moses...

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Sylvester.

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