Thursday, January 7, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Va'era

During this evening's shiur, R' Frand said a parsha vort which involved the Sneh - an episode found in last week's parsha. R' Frand first gave a disclaimer that he views Shemos, Va'era and Bo as one long parsha and therefore he wanted to give a vort which was about Shemos. However, because I try to use this post to summarize a vort in this week's parsha, I have reproduced a vort that R' Frand said on Parshas Va'era in a prior year. I have attempted to reproduce this vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In the beginning of this week's parsha, Moshe tells the Jews the four languages of geulah that we know from the Pesach seder. After reciting the language of geulah, the Torah writes at Va'era 6:9 that Moshe told this to the Jews, but they did not listen because of the shortness of breath or spirit and the hard work.

R' Frand noted that this was hard to understand since at the end of Parshas Shemos (4:31), Moshe and Aharon tell the Jews about being redeemed from Egypt and they say Amen and they understand the geulah is coming. What could have happened to cause this sea change in thought?

R' Frand first offered a pragmatic answer that the Jews were forced to work harder and go looking for straw to build their bricks after Moshe first addressed the Jews in Parshas Shemos.

R' Frand then gave a deeper answer which he quoted in the name of the Ralbag. R' Frand stated that the shortness of spirit or breath was not descriptive of the Jews - it was about Moshe himself! Moshe had previously been thinking that he would go down and tell the Jews that they were leaving and that they would leave immediately thereafter. Moshe was depressed that the geulah did not come right after he addressed the Jews. His depression impacted on his manner of addressing the Jews and he lacked his exuberance. As such, the Jews did not listen because his words rang hollow to them.

R' Frand brought a proof from the Noach story. The question is often asked - why is it that Noach was unsuccessful in bringing anyone to do teshuva. The answer is - Noach did what he was told to do, but not out of any great belief that what he was doing was necessary or that the flood would actually happen. Since Noach did not give off an expression of sincerity, he was unable to convince others to repent.

The moral is - if a person is deficient in his faith, he cannot have an impact on other people. Thus because Moshe was not giving his message with the same inner strength, it did not have the same impact on the Jewish people.

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