Parshas Shemos:
 By: Yaacov Silverstein
e@mail: hm16@popeye.cc.biu.ac.il

Parshas Shemos

Pasuk  (1:1)

It says in the Pasuk, "Veh Ayleh Shemos Bnei Yisrael, Habaim Mitzraymah..."

Why does the Pasuk talk in the present tense, why not in the past tense, "Asher Bahuh"?

Comes Rav Mordechai Ilan (Mikdash Mordechai) and answers, the Bnei Yisrael had their mind set from the beginning, that they were only going to Egypt as temporary residents, not permanent. They always felt that they were in the state of "coming" and they did not feel that they had found their true resting place.

The Chasam Sofer adds to this idea, that the torah wanted to hint to us, that the Bnei Yakov, even after living in Egypt, were still like they were when they first came.

They were still like one Nefesh, one nation.

However, their descendants were different. They had a totally different Hashkafah, after Yosef and his brothers died, came a new generation.

They multiplied and increased "Bimeoad Meoad" (1:7).

Asks the Klei Yakar, why doesn't the Pasuk state "Meod Meod", why does the Pasuk add a Beit?

Answers the Klei Yakar, that "Meod" comes to teach us that the Bnei Yisrael became rich in money. As it says in Kerias Shemah, "Uvechol Mehodecha" (with all your money). Therefore the Pasuk comes to tell us that they increased in wealth.

Since they became rich they were found in all different cultural places and circuses, as it says "And the land was filled with them".

Since they started to loose their Jewish identity, therefore Pharaoh forgot who they were also, just like they forgot their true mission.

Let us learn from this episode, and not make a mistake what are true mission is in this world.

We must make sure to keep our identity, this is the only way we will gain respect from the other nations.

(Adapted from Rav Frand 's commuter tape, Shmos: Cholov Yisroel; Chasam Sofer)

Pasuk (3:5)

Hashem told Moshe, "The place that you are standing on is holy land..."

Comes the Chafetz Chaim and explains, the Chachamim say "Don't say to yourself, when I will be free from my work, I will learn. Yet write away one should learn Torah".

A person may think to himself, that when Hashem will increase his borders, real estate, money, jobs ... Than he would do Mitzvos and learn Torah, yet now that he is in troubles, and he has a Parnasah to worry about, he doesn't have time to learn torah now.

This is what the Pasuk is coming to teach us, "For on the place that you are standing", meaning the same situation and time that you are in presently, "Is Holy".

For Hashem may want your Torah learning, Davkah in the times that you find it hard to serve him.

The Chazal say, one who learns Torah trough troubles, takes 1000 in reward.

While one who learns without any trouble, only takes 200.

"Lehfum Tzarah Agrah"

Pasuk (3:4-6)

Moshe sees the burning bush, and he then hides his face, for he was afraid to gaze towards Hashem.

In the Gemarah Berachos (7:1), Rebbi Shmuel Bar Nachmeni brings down that Moshe was rewarded for his acts.

1) For hiding his face = he merited a radiant countenance.

2) For being afraid = he merited the spiritual brilliance, that made people afraid to approach him.

3) For not gazing toward Hashem = he was merited to the Pasuk (Bamidbar 12:8) "at the image of Hashem he gazes".

Comes the Ramban and says the only reason that Moshe received the "Appearance of Hashem", was because he turned away. And Moshe Received all the levels of Nevuah, only after the "burning bush".

If he would have not looked away, he wouldn't have been merited to have the appearance of Hashem. For one does not acquire higher levels of Ruchnias without his own Hishtadlus.

Thus, in order for Moshe to be able to see things which were not seeable to him in the present, he had to do the totally opposite and step back and then he tried to understand what he saw. (Rav Meshulam David Solvetchich)

The Seforno brings down that here we find the case of "One who comes to purify himself, is helped.

For in any spiritual endeavor, one always needs to do his Hishtadlus, once this is done, a person must put his Bitachon in Hashem, to increase that "small opening, the size of a hole in a needle".

However, the Gemarah brings down yet another opinion of Moshe not looking at the "burning bush'. That of Rav Yehoshua Ben Karcha who holds that Moshe was punished for taking away his gaze from the divine presence.

Yet one may ask, why was he punished, for Moshe didn't look because he was afraid to look?

Comes Rav Michel Barenbaum and explains that we tend to think that we are not responsible for having "normal" human reactions to sudden situations.

Yet, these situations are not involuntary, we have the ability to gain control over every single aspect of ourselves.

Moshe didn't look out of fear, because of his nature that he had. If he would have been able to overcome himself from his fear of the unknown, and gazed at the Divine Presence, he would then have immediately been transported to a new realm of consciousness. Since he failed here, later on when Moshe sought to reach this supernal awareness of the Divine Presence, Hashem turned him down.

We learn yet another valuable lesson, we must constantly keep our eyes open to see those "little miracles" in our everyday lives, and ignore those everyday distractions.

By doing this, one will come closer to Hashem, and thus see the bigger miracles in his life, increasing his sight of the Divine Providence in his life.

One can not excuse himself for not realizing the miracles, for we are responsible for every action we do in our lives, and we must conquer our human nature.

Another lesson to be learnt is that sometimes we may debate in our mind if we should do a certain Chesed or not. Like helping someone with his problems, and we debate about it in our mind, till the chance of doing that Chesed passes by, and it is to late. We then feel sorry for missing our opportunity.

For example, a person comes collecting money at your door, maybe he didn't have anything to drink or eat that day, besides giving him some money, here is a quick opportunity to do an extra Chesed, if you take a minute to debate if you should do it or not, you already lost it.

Don't hesitate in doing a Chesed, because you can only regret it.

(Adapted from Reb Michel's Shmuessen, with my additions)



Three steps after Shemoneh Esrei:

The Pasuk says (3:3) "Moshe said, I will turn aside now and look at this great sight"

Comes the Chesav Sofer on this Pasuk and writes that the Midrash brings down that when Moshe saw the burning bush, he took 3 steps back.

The Beit Yosef(123) brings down that one should take 3 steps back after completing the Shemonei Esrei. One should start with his left foot, than the right.

He should not take more than 3 steps back.

He also brings down that it is a mistake to say "Oseh Shalom", before taking 3 steps back.

After one takes his 3 steps back he should wait a short time, and not return to his original place right away. Since it is like a servant leaving his master.

The Shulchan Aruch(123:2) says to wait till Kedusha, or at least till Chazaras Hashatz.

The Mishneh Berurah (123:3:14) brings down that there is someone behind him who is in the middle of Shemoneh Esrei, he should not step back, until the other person finishes.

The Bach brings down, that one should take his steps, heel on the side of his big toe (Gudal), and (Gudel) his big toe on the side of his heel (not large steps). If it is very crowded and this is not possible, one may take smaller steps back (yet best not to).

(For any Halachik question, a Rav should be asked how to act)

Good Shabbos!!