Exodus 1:1 – 5:23)

(Haftara: Isaiah 27:6- 28:13, 29:22,23)

  1. [1:8] “And a new king arose over Egypt…” Rashi quotes an argument from the Talmud. One chacham says that it was really a new king, and the other chacham says that it was the same king, but he changed his policies. How does the story change according to each of these opinions?
  2. [2:2] “…and she saw that he was good…” In explaining the meaning of “he was good”, Rashi says that the whole house was filled with light. The Sforno (1475-1550—Italy), however says that Moshe was prettier than the average baby. What might have made Rashi give a “miraculous” explanation?
  3. [3:8] “…to a land flowing with milk and honey, the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite…” Why does God also mention that the land is inhabited by these tribes? Wouldn’t that fact be discouraging to Moshe?
  4. [3:13] “…and they will say to me, ‘What is His name’, what shall I say to them?” Why does God need a name? Why can’t Moshe say that our God is so universal that He is beyond names?
  5. [4:10] “…I am slow of speech and of a slow tongue.” The Israelites had to be convinced to leave Egypt, and Pharoah had to be convinced to let them leave. Why didn’t God choose a more eloquent and charismatic leader for the Israelites?

Commentary

[4:10] “…I am slow of speech and of a slow tongue.” Many leaders are very good and persuasive speakers. Why did God choose Moshe, who had such difficulty with his speech?

God did not want people to say that the reason that the children of Israel accepted the Torah was because they were convinced by a charismatic and persuasive leader. Rather, the reason they accepted the Torah was because of their encounter with God at Mount Sinai.

–Rabbi Nissim (the Ra”n), Spain, (1320-1380)

 

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer