Midreshet Amit


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Actualizing Potential

By: Emily Ratzker

As Aharon and Moshe are about to embark on their missions as Hashem's ambassadors to Pharoh, the Torah introduces their parents. The Torah is usually as concise as possible and never uses an extra word or letter. Yet in last week's Parsha, Parshat Shemot, the Torah goes to great lengths not to mention the names of Ahron and Moshe’s parents. It says “A man went from the house of Levi and he took a daughter of Levi , the woman conceived and gave birth to a son” why couldn’t the Torah just say : Amram married Yocheved and they had a son Moshe? Why does the Torah deliberately hide their identity? Rav Moshe Feinstein explains that the Torah is trying to teach us the difference between raw potential and actualized potential. Moshe’s future was pretty predictable from the day he was born. He was shining at birth, filling the room with light. The Torah even tells us that Yocheved saw that he was good. It must have been quite obvious to Amram and Yocheved that Moshe was a very special child. In Parshat Shemot, Moshe was full of raw potential. As long as Moshe’s abilities were in a state of raw potential, they were not a source of pride for his parents. Amram and Yocheved don’t beat mention in the Torah for just bringing a child with special abilities into the world. However, in Parshat Va’era, Moshe has already discarded the robes of the royal Egyptian nobility helping his fellow Jews while nearly losing his life in the process. Now that Moshe has actually used his potential to achieve all that he has, the time has come for his parents to be identified as the proud parents of the leader of Am Yisrael. So too, we start our year with raw potential. We come to Israel with hopes to grow, to make friends and have chavayot. It is our teachers, our rabbis and our administration that aid us on our journey from turning our raw potential into actualized potential. So, just as Moshe’s parents were finally named when his potential was reached, I think it is not just appropriate but important for us to take this time to reflect on how much everyone in Amit has impacted our experience in such positive ways.