From the Rabbi’s Study…Shabbat, January 12, 2024/2 Shevat 5784
The Torah portion this Sabbath continues having G-d telling Moses to go before Pharaoh and ask him to let the Israelites leave Egypt. Moses responds that Pharaoh will not listen and apologetically explains that, because of a speech impediment, he is not the right person to represent the Jewish people. G-d answers that Moses’ brother Aaron will accompany him as the spokesman. Moses and Aaron go to Pharaoh to request freedom for the Israelites. Pharaoh refuses, and the seven of the ten plagues are set upon Egypt. Pharaoh’s continues to be stubborn and will not let the Israelites go.
When Moses was appealing to G-d saying: “The Israelites have not listened to me. Why then will Pharaoh pay attention to me?” (Exodus 6:12) This is an important lesson in the regard of leadership. The Torah was showing us that in order for Pharaoh to listen to Moses, Moses must have the people behind. An act of liberation should come from the people that are oppressed, and not just one of their leaders. If a leader wants to make a change for their citizens, the change would need the support of the people.
Throughout history, democratic societies, a public official could not bring about social change or any actions without the majority of the people. What other minorities have successfully rebelled against mistreatment in ancient and in recent times? One example was the Hasmonean Jews known as the Maccabees.
Morashah is Hebrew for heritage, which is G-d’s promise to give the land of Canaan to the children of Israel as their heritage (Exodus 6:8). The “heritage” has two meanings for the Jewish people. The land of Canaan is a material one, with the condition on the behavior of the children of Israel. Another meaning relates to the spiritual possession regardless of behavior and that the land will remain with Jewish people. One example of such a heritage in Judaism is the Torah, which belongs to Jewish people forever.
Today, we see and hear from people protesting that the land of Israel is their “Palestine”, and our Judaic history proves them wrong. Our tenets of faith is that G-d gave the Jewish people Israel.
Am Ysrael Chai! Long Live Israel!
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder