Sunday, January 25, 2009

Parshat Va'Eira: no unnecessary bad words

Parshat Va'eira

In 6:11-12, Hashem tells Moshe that he should go to Pharoah and tell him to send out My people from his land. Moshe responds that the Jews did not listen to me, so how will Pharoah listen to me, and I have [uncircumcised] blemished lips.

Then the Torah goess a bit off topic and describes some of the lineage of some of the fmailies of the tribes.

Then the Torah gets back on topic and repeats the last conversation between Hashem and Moshe and then moves on.

Rashi explains that the reaso why it repeats that last conversation is because that is the normal thing to do. After going off-topic, when getting back on-topic it first repeats the last item and then goes forward.

But what did the Torah repeat? In 6:29-30 Hashem said to Moshe to go speak to Pharoah, and Moshe said to Hashem how will Pharoah listen to me, as I have uncircumcised lips.

According to Rashi that it is repeating the last conversation, why did it leave out the part of Moshe comparing the Jews not listening to Pharoah potentially not listening? That was the basis for his assumption that Pharoah would not listen, so why leave that part out?

I was thinking that perhaps, while it was necessary in the actual conversation for Moshe to make his point by comparing it to the jews not listening, in essence that is really a complaint against the jews. Sure they were overworked, impatient, frustrated, and did not listen to him for good reason. No time for false hope. no energy to get worked up over aanother likely false start. etc. But the fact is it was a sort of complaint that the jews did not listen to him.

So, while it was necessary at the time for Moshe to say it, and therefore it got relayed in the Torah as part of the conversation, but the second time when it is just repeating to get back on topic, there is no longer a need to say that aspect of the ocnversation. The point was already made. No need to repeat a complaint against the Jews.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Va'Yigash: The first message

Parshat Va'Yigash

In 45:9, Yosef finally can't hold back any longer and just has to tell them who he is. He tells them, and then he says, "Go up quickly to my father and tell him that God has made me a king in Egypt. Go quickly, do not delay."

That is the first message he sends? Not "Tell my father I am alive"?

If you heard your friend was in a car accident, and you heard he died in the crash. Suddenly 20 years later you get an email from his saying "Long time no speak. Update - I am president of a major corporation." that would be strange. At that point, you could care less about what job and title he holds. You first want to hear "I am alive." - you want to hear how he survived, what happened, etc.

Yaakov at this point would not care what position Yosef is holding. He would want to hear "I am alive". He would want to hear what happened, how he survived, etc. Only later would he be interested in what Yosef is up to and how he earns a living.

Why is this the message, and specifically the first message, Yosef sends to his father?

I think Yosef is really sending a message within the message. i think he is telling his father that what happened along the way is not important, becuase this was the ultimate goal. Hashem made me king in Egypt so I would be in place to protect the family. Hashem did whatever he did to save me the past 22 years because I was meant to be king. Dad, you can ignore the past 22 years - that was all for the purpose of my being here today as king of Egypt.

The first message is not specifically that he is king, but that his whole life, his whole time away, has been directed by God up to this moment and place. And that is the message that was important for him to send to his father.