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Parshat Va'eira

By: Rikki Neiman

In this weeks Parsha, Parshat Va'eira we see that Moshe was 80 years old before he spoke with Pharaoh. Two weeks ago in Parshat Vayichi we saw that Bnei Yisrael went down to Mitzrayim, and according to Rashi, Yocheved was born on the way. Rashi also says that Bnei Yisrael were in Mitzrayim for 210 years based on the gematria of the word "ridu". If you do the calculations we can see that Yocheved was 130 when she had Moshe. When Sarah was 90 she gave birth to Yitzchak and it was considered a huge miracle. So why then wasn't Moshe's birth discussed in the Torah as at least as great or even greater miracle?

I can suggest three possible answers. The first is that Amram had separated from Yocheved and did not have relations with her because he did not want to have a son and have to kill him based on Pharaoh's decree. It was only after Miriam pointed out that the decree was only for boys, and Amram's decree (not having a boy or a girl) was worse than Pharaoh's because his decree was for girls too, that he remarried Yocheved and give both to Moshe.

The second answer is that there were so many miracles in Mitzrayim at the time that each individual miracle was not noticed. People were giving birth to six to twelve kids at a time and were not in labor long enough for the Mitzrim to come and kill the kids. If you do the math its really unbelievable how many kids they had considering that Bnei Yisrael were only in Egypt for 210 years. They went with 70 people, and they left with 600,000 men. According to Rashi, four fifths of the Jews were killed during Makat Choshech. That is 3 million men, and another 3 million women, and 6 million kids. In total, there were over 10 million Jews from the time we got to Egypt until Makat Choshech. There were obviously many miracles over these years Yocheved having a Moshe at the age of 130 may not have been considered so unusual.

Finally, the last answer is that the miracle of Yizchak was the prediction and Hashem's decree. The miracle wasn't that Sarah had Yitzchak at such an old age, rather that Hashem told Avraham and Sarah that they would have kids and told them exactly when Yitzchak would be born. Even though Sarah thought she was infertile everything happened exactly the way Hashem said it would. This is why the birth of Yitzchak was mentioned as a bigger miracle, but really both the birth of Yitzchack and Moshe were equally great miracles from Hashem.

As we look at the world around us, we are constantly bombarded by "everyday miracles". Just missing a flight that crashed or just making the train where you meet your bashert. We must realize that these aren't just coincidences and we should appreciate the "everyday miracles" that Hashem does for us.

Rikki comes to AMIT from Teaneck, New Jersey and attended Ramaz. Next year, she plans on going to Stern College. When asked what her favorite part of the program is, Rikki said, " Not only are we growing religiously as individuals but we are also giving back to kids less fortunate then us. Seeing the smiles and the kids faces when we are doing activities with them really makes you feel great. Besides being able to help others, we also have wonderful faculty members with whom we can easily connect and open up to. Being a small seminary of only 30 girls gives us an advantage because each teacher makes it their business to get to know each one of us as individuals. Midreshet AMIT is a wonderful program and I can already tell that I will feel very accomplished by the end of the year. "