Midreshet Amit


Back to Main Page

Parshat Vaera

By: Rabbi Jason Knapel

One of my students asked an interesting question– why is it that in the middle of the Moshe narrative we stop and give the lineage of Moshe connecting him to Shevet Levi? The question is even more intensified by the fact that the Torah does not restrict itself to Moshe’s direct lineage but mentions all the cousins etc… and in fact mentions the first 2 shevatim - with many of the relatives of these shevatim.

When looking for an answer I came upon an interesting Rav Hirsch. He explains up until this point Moshe has not been very successful in his mission and if things would continue in this way there would be no need to tell the lineage of Moshe – he would have disappeared into the forgotten lines of history. But from this point in the story Moshe would be successful - everything he was about to do would have a great impact of the Jews and the Egyptian. He would grow to fame and fear and would be a very powerful leader who would eventually give Bnei Yisrael the Torah and lead them to their land. He would be the conduit for Hashem’s miracle and time and time again he would save the Jewish people from divine retribution. Rav Hirsch explains that there was a great chance that people would in the future make Moshe into a sort of Divine individual someone who is beyond the normal human being. I would add even if they would not do that, they would think that Moshe was always different, always righteous, always destined for this great position. We see today often how we look at those who are our great leaders and there is almost a mythology about their beginnings.

The danger according to Rav Hirsch was that we would develop another (or a first) Jesus figure. Today the danger for us is that we assign to Moshe a non normal life and therefore we could never aspire to be like Moshe – after all his was not a normal human.

And here the Torah tells us the lineage of Moshe starting from the lineage of the other Shevatim – he was just one of the progeny of the brothers, he had a mother and father, cousins and uncles – he was always “good” but he was also human – he developed himself like we all do – but he took himself further, he took himself to greater heights, he actualized himself in a way that seems supernatural but in reality can be reached  -if we would strive and have the drive.

The Torah wants us to know Moshe’s roots within the context of the normal family so that we can also become a “Moshe”  - maybe not on the same level, maybe not for the same mission – but with the same striving and the same drive we too can attain greatness – we too can be messengers of Hakadosh BaRuch Hu in the world – we too can be more that we think we can be!

May we all be zocheh to be normal great people and to do all within our power to make the world realize the power of Hashem in the world.