Midreshet Amit


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Reconnecting for Inspiration

By: Sydney Hecht, Lindsay Frucher, Frieda Benun

When Moshe first went to Pharaoh to ask him to let the Jewish people leave Egypt, he was unsuccessful. Pharaoh refused to recognize HaShem, and even made life in Egypt worse for the Jews. Moshe went to Pharaoh nine times, and each time Pharaoh was unmoved. At the end of last week’s parsha, we were able to sense the pressure that Moshe was under. At the beginning of this week’s parsha, Parshat Va’eira, HaShem reassures Moshe that even though it is going to be difficult to change Pharaoh’s mind, with HaShem’s help, he will be successful.

Moshe is a righteous man who is always looking out for Bnei Yisrael. He sees that the Jewish people are being tortured and worked to death by Pharaoh and the Mitzrim. Moshe begs Pharaoh to let the Jewish people go but he is unsuccessful until HaShem tells him that it is time for the redemption of the Jewish people. HaShem then sends the ten plagues onto Pharaoh and the Mitzrim, putting them in excruciating pain. Pharaoh eventually tells Moshe that if he stops the makkot, the Jewish people will be freed. Like any normal person, Moshe agrees and the makkot stop. However, to his dismay, even after Pharaoh gets what he wants, he still does not allow the Jewish people to leave. Why? It is human nature to fall back into old bad habits when things become normal. When a person undergoes a painful experience, he may think to himself that he will never commit that action again because he does not want to be in pain like he was before. But once time passes, and things begin to mellow out, it is important for him to stick to the good path and not fall back into the old ways.

In our own lives, we often decide to daven in times of hardship, and we think to ourselves that if HaShem helps us, then we will continue to daven. Unfortunately, when life gets better we stop because there isn’t any “specific problem” happening in our life that we'd need to daven for a solution. It is crucial for us to always remember that we need to have a connection with HaShem in times of grief and in times of happiness. We must not forget the feeling to do better when things are going well in our lives.

Even when we are faced with this challenge, we must always remember that to be successful, we sometimes have to experience failure. Moshe, one of the greatest leaders in history also experienced failure. Pharaoh did not agree to let the Jews go worship HaShem the first, or even the ninth, time that Moshe asked. He even made the Jews' work more difficult after Moshe's first meeting with him, refusing to supply them with straw as he had before. Yet, despite his setbacks, Moshe was able to take the Jewish people out of Egypt. Defeat hurts. But we must remember during the times we feel discouraged that even the greatest of people have failed. What makes these people great is the strength that they have to get back up and try again. Even when we think we may not be able to succeed, we must keep trying. Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks explains perfectly that, “God never loses faith in us even if we sometimes lose faith in ourselves.”

As past students of Amit and current students in college, these lessons apply to us much more than we would have ever expected. We experienced a spiritual and growth- oriented year last year, and we hoped that everything would stick with us once we got to college. Well, reality smacked us in the face, and we soon figured out that it is extremely difficult to apply everything we learned last year into this year. In this way, we feel a little like Pharaoh – as soon as the plagues (which were aimed toward teaching him important lessons) stopped, he fell back into his old ways and refused to let the Jews go. Similarly, once our year, which was solely focused on bettering ourselves ended, we fell back into many of our old pre-Israel ways and could not hold onto everything we had learned in our year in Israel. However, the solution is to remember the strength of Moshe and strive to follow his model rather than Pharaoh's. Despite his struggles and repeated failures to get Pharaoh to listen, Moshe repeatedly picked himself back up and tried again and then still again. As a result, he was able to achieve great success as the leader of Am Yisrael. As a part of Am Yisrael, we have to be better than Pharaoh and look at his actions as a learning experience for us to act differently. We came back to Israel and AMIT now during our Winter Break to get re-inspired so that we can go back to college and try yet again. We all have to find the same strength that Moshe Rabbeinu found within himself in order to repeatedly try again and again until we ultimately succeed and become the best that we can be.