Thursday, January 19, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Shemos

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts 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.

Rabbi Frand began the parsha portion of the shiur by quoting the Sfas Emes who cites an interesting Medrash. The Medrash states that Moshe saw the Jews suffering in Egypt (Shemos 2:11) and was confused. He wondered, what had the Jews done to deserve being enslaved and suffering in a way that no other nation was suffering.

Later in the same pasuk Moshe saw the Egyptian hit the Jew and thereafter he saw one Jew hitting another Jew (Shemos 2:11-2:13). When Moshe attempted to intervene, he was reproached by the aggressor and he was frightened. (Shemos 2:14). Rashi explains that Moshe concluded that because the Jews were "informers" he understood why they were not fit to be redeemed.

The Sfas Emes asked - how can it be that Moshe went from being confounded by the Jews suffering one day and the following day, drawing the conclusion that it was their fault for speaking lashon hara.

R' Frand quoted the Sfas Emes who explained that this indicative of the strength of the sin of lashon hara. The sin is so powerful that it explains the reason why they were suffering. R' Frand then added that when the Jews were suffering, he saw them as a nation and with all of their merits, why do they suffer? But once he saw that they were speaking lashon hara, he saw disunity and dissension. This was no longer a nation, it was a group of individuals and bad things can happen to individuals. When they spoke lashon hara they were no longer a nation, they were just a group of people.

R' Frand then said a second vort in the name of the Sfas Emes involving the pesukim in Shemos 3:9-11 wherein Hashem tells Moshe that He has seen the Jews suffering and that Moshe should lead them out of Egypt. Moshe then responds - who am I to lead them out? I'm a nobody, I can't be the one. The problem is me.

But Rashi quotes Chazal who explain that Moshe was actually saying - what kind of merit do they have that I can take them out?

The Sfas Emes wonders - how is it that Moshe can say both of these things? He just said that the problem is him, but he also says that the Jews don't merit a redemption!

R' Frand gave the answer in the name of the Sfas Emes who explains that the problem was Moshe and his being different from Aharon. As opposed to Moshe, Aharon was the "nice guy" and his soul was chessed. But Moshe was the law giver and was the living embodiment of Torah which is law. Moshe was saying to Hashem, Aharon can take them out because he will be able to convince You that even though they are flawed, they should be released. But me? I can't do that because I don't see that they are worthy of getting out. You chose the wrong person, You need an Aharon if You want someone to lead the Jews out.

Hashem then responds to Moshe - I will be with you (Shemos 2:12) and they will get out. Why? Because I see that they will say Na'aseh V'Nishma and be worthy of release.

The Sfas Emes then asked - but this is out of sequence! They have not yet said Na'aseh V'Nishma! The Sfas Emes responds - they are a nation which acts and asks about it later. Its in their nature and I know that when I take them out they will do it.

He then tied it into a Medrash about an apple. Usually a tree gives a flower and then a fruit. But the Jews are sweet from the beginning, like the apple. And I am judging them based on what they will become. Its a lesson - don't judge people on how they are now, judge them on what they will be.

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