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Following Our Intuition

By: Raquel Abraham

In this weeks Torah portion, Shmot, we close the gates of Yosef’s tribulations with his brothers and begin this new chapter where Moshe takes the Jews out of Egypt. G-d reveals himself to Moshe, and with time, Moshe “accepts” his role as the leader that will take the Jews out of Egypt. Moshe was the adopted son of Pharaohs daughter, and had an incredibly optimistic future ahead of him as a member of the Egyptians royal house. Thus the question arises, what exactly compelled Moshe to look beyond the life that he was guaranteed, especially for his culture that was so foreign to him. Not much of Moshe’s early life is revealed to us, but the first time we see Moshe act on his intuition and side with his native people, unknowingly, is in Parsha, Shmot.

On the first day, Moshe went outside and saw an Egyptian man striking a Hebrew man, he looked both ways and saw that no one was doing anything about it and he struck the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. On the second day, Moshe went out and saw two Hebrew men quarreling, when he questioned their actions they replied by saying, “Who made you a man, a prince, and a judge over us? Do you plan to slay me as you have slain the Egyptian?” And on the third day when Moshe went out he say two Egyptians arguing. In all these three situations Moshe resolved to the “just” cause.

The question then arises, should Moshe have killed the Egyptian? Was there another way he would have been able to solve this? The Rambam says that every Jew is obligated to rescue a victim that is confronted with someone thats intent is to kill. According to the Rambam there was no moral problem with killing the Egyptian because it was Moshe’s duty to take the law into his own hands and save the victim. Naphtali Hertz Weisel then brings up another question, it is said exactly that the Egyptain was, “striking a blow,” (which means beating and harassing) did this mean that his intention was to kill the Hebrew man? The Ramban does not attempt to answer this question, rather he tries to understand Moshes motives and the feelings that led him to commit the deed. According to the Ramban, “Moshe could not bear the sight” Moshe was just told that he was a Jew and could not bear to see a “brother” be treated that way.

According to the Haktav Vekabalah the killing of the Hebrew man serves as a wake up call to Moshe, his people are suffering and it was his time to give them hope. This experience that Moshe encountered can be seen as his moment of realization, his people were in trouble, he was in trouble. It was this moment where Moshe remembered he was a Jew, whether his action was considered morally correct is still up for interpretation. But the real message we can take from this is that we were all given απιδ [intuition] from G-d and when we are confronted with events or feelings that make us uncomfortable we should follow our intuition. 

For me, this year in Israel is all about following my intuition. We are constantly learning, new ideas, new ways of living our lives, we have new thoughts, and goals for ourselves. It can sometimes be really challenging to let go of the past and the lives we've lived, we must always remember to follow our intuition and go after what we think is right. Shabbat Shalom!