Midreshet Amit


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Who is Worthy?

By: Rabbi Daniel Goldstein

An important transition takes place in this weeks parsha, Behaalotcha. Since Moshe's arrival on the scene, prophesy had been vested solely in him. In our parsha, Hashem expands the pool of prophets to include the seventy elders. Who were these elders and how where they chosen?
The Medrash provides us with a beautiful message. Moshe's first attempt to reason with Pharaoh failed. In retaliation for Moshe's suggestion that Bnei Yisrael be given a respite, Pharoah intensified the slavery and commanded that a greater quota of bricks be produced. The Torah tells us that the Shotrim of Bnei Yisrael, the Jewish leadership, were beaten by the taskmasters because Bnei Yisrael was able to meet the new demands (Shemot 5:14). But what did the Shotrim do in return? Did they pass the beating along to their charges in order to produce the results? The Medrah tells us: "Better we absorb the blows, and not allow the nation to be punished," they said.  
But the story continued. When Hashem told Moshe to select elders to become the newly minted prophets, Moshe was unsure who to choose. "How do I know who is meritorious and who is not?", he asked. But Hashem's answer was swift and clear: "Those who absorbed the blows on behalf of their brethren in Egypt are the ones who are worthy to collect their reward now." Those who put themselves out to bring relief for their fellow Jews were the ones worthy of coming close to Hashem.

This Shabbat, we take leave of the Midreshet AMIT class of 5774. While I do not anticipate that any of this year's class will become prophetesses, I can say this: these students spent a year, not only immersed in Torah, and in Eretz Yisrael, but in a perpetual act of chesed. The children of AMIT Beit Hayaled have suffered much pain in their young lives, and our students—your daughters and granddaughter—have absorbed their pain so that a fellow Jew might have some relief. The friendship and love found at Beit Hayeled transforms recipient and giver alike. And it is with great pride in their accomplishments that we send them back home, to continue on their journey of avodat Hashem. And as was true with the Elders of long ago, great things await.