Parshas Shemos

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By Rabbi Shloimie Lindenbaum

ותחיין את הילדים (פרק א פסוק יז)

Pharoah commanded the Jewish midwives, Shifrah and Puah, to murder all Jewish male babies. They brazenly ignored the missive, at great personal risk, and did not kill any children. The Torah adds that they also gave life to the children. What is the Torah adding with that? The Chofetz Chaim says that the Torah is stressing the tremendous kindness and selflessness of Shifrah and Puah. They certainly weren’t heartless enough to kill the babies, but they could have quit their job to avoid angering Pharoah. This would have been the easy way out, but they were concerned that Pharoah would hire other women in their place, women who would be more intimidated by the decree. Therefore, they allowed themselves to continue in their dangerous position to ensure that the children stayed alive. We see from here that when a person finds themselves in a position where they can achieve good things, even if it is not comfortable, they should utilize their situation and avoid taking the “easy way out”.

ויאמר משה אסורה נא ואראה וכו’ וירא ה’ כי סר לראות (פרק ג פסוק ג-ד)

Moshe was grazing the sheep of Yisro, his father-in-law, when he noticed a burning bush which wasn’t being consumed. Moshe declares that he will turn to see this strange phenomenon and when Hashem saw that he turned to see it, He revealed Himself to Moshe. The Medrash says that the process of “turning to see” was all of five steps, or perhaps just a tilt of his head. R’ Ahron Kotler explains that Moshe wasn’t turning out of pure curiosity, rather he realized that this was a spiritual and G-dly experience, and he turned out of his strong desire to come closer to, and understand better, G-d and His ways. It seems that even though Moshe had already reached tremendous levels in his service of Hashem, Hashem still wanted him to strive a little bit more, show a little more desire to come close, before finally revealing Himself. It was all of five steps, or less, but Moshe needed just a little more effort in His עבודה before meriting prophecy. This is encouragement for all of us, that even the smallest actions can accomplish tremendous levels in רוחניות. This also shows how much one can lose out by being lazy and uninterested; with just a little more

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