Torah: Shemot (Exodus 1:1-6:1) Haftarah: (Isaiah 27:6-28:13, 29:22-23)
The Torah portion starts the Book of Exodus. A new Pharaoh comes to power who orders all the Israelite male children drowned. Baby Moses is put into a basket and set afloat on the Nile River. Moses is saved by Pharaoh’s daughter. Moses kills an Egyptian who was fighting with an Israelite and flees for his life to Midian. G-d speaks to Moses out of a burning bush and tells him that he and his brother Aaron will liberate the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. The last parsha starts when the Pharaoh imposes hard labor upon the Israelites.
The Judaic concept and value of “Humility” is a virtue to be admired. When Moses is called by G-d to return to Egypt to lead the Jewish people to freedom, his first question: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and free the Israelites from Egypt?” Some commentators have argued that Moses was showing true humility when he asked this question, perhaps even fearing that he did not possess the political skills to liberate his people from Egypt. As Rabbi Eleazar ben Yehudah once said, “No crown carries such royalty as that of humility.” The prophet Micah said that when G-d requires of us is to do right, love goodness, and walk humbly with G-d (Micah:6:8).
In Judaism, these two elements of light (or) and integrity (t’mimut) are interrelated…
Today, the person of integrity, conversely, is possessed of a broader vision, an insight and light of understanding which emanates from them. If this individual who holds a position and wants to help their community, is rebuked by many that disagree with his views.
The Torah points out two human beings that possess the values of light and integrity: Moses, as “Torat Mosheh” and the eponymic Jewish mother. In Proverbs (1:8) we read, “Al titosh Torat imekha” “Do not forsake the teachings of your mother,” we are admonished. Traditionally it is the woman’s role to kindle the flame of Torah in the Jewish home, to teach its values to the children and thereby insure the future integrity of the Jewish people.
Some individuals assume many roles in society, translating this responsibility into the realm of the synagogue and the community at large. Uniting the concepts of light and integrity, we may address ourselves to such issues as Social Actions, Community Service, Israel Affairs, and many more. This indeed, is the essence of our leadership.
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder