Texts: Exodus 1:1-6:1 || Isaiah 27:6 – 28:13; 29:22 – 29:23 (Haftarah, Ashkenazi)/ Jeremiah 1:1-2:3 (Haftarah, Sephardic)
NOTE: Kol HaTor, in its commentaries on the weekly Parashot, endeavours to search for and accentuate the Torah Messages contained in the Parashot as applicable to the main Theme of Tanach of the Return of the House of Israel, i.e. the Lost Ten Tribes of Northern Israel and their Reconciliation with Judah to form the reunited 12-Tribed Kingdom of Israel.
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(‘Names’ – of the Patriarchs of the 12 Tribes of the Kingdom of Israel)
In our previous 12 Parashot from the Book of Genesis we have traced the Divine Election for channeling the Blessing of Abraham, through its family tracks, through Yitzchak and Ya’acov, to the 70 family members who went down into Egypt.
From the book of Exodus onwards, we now see the national development of this Divine Election Process – the nucleus of the Nation to come at the End Time, amongst whom G-d would have a righteous Ruling Body to rule in His forthcoming Universal Kingdom. We will see how these 70 souls multiply, become a multitude, become enslaved in Egypt and eventually redeemed – all as a metaphor of the Ultimate future Redemption at the final fulfillment of Abraham’s Blessings in a multitude of nations.
Parashat Shmot gives us a glimpse into the nature of G-d’s Elect and what is required of humans to bring about the Redemption (viz. the establishment of His Reconciled and Re-united 12-Tribed Kingdom to rule over the world).
Exodus opens with recording how the Hebrews (12 Tribes of Israel) became a multitude, thus threatening the Egyptian nationalism. The Pharaoh then instructed the “Hebrew midwives”, Shiphrah and Puah, to kill the Hebrew male babies and let the girls live only. Because they were G-d-fearing though, these women let the boys live.
There rages a difference of opinion amongst interpreters, whether these women were Hebrew or Egyptian.
Taking the point of those who believe that they were Egyptians, it supports the inspiring evidence that the acts of ‘righteous Gentiles’ during the Holocaust, to save Jewish souls at the risk of their own lives, bear to the righteous nature that can be found in all nations. To recognize this good in humans, irrespective of their nationality, religion or ethnicity, provides us with sound foundations for developing the righteous nature that will be required to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
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We find the same righteous nature in the daughter of Pharaoh when she finds the Hebrew child Moses in the river, hidden against the evil decree of her father. She arranges for his safe keeping and later takes him into the Palace where he grows up as an Egyptian in high society.
Then follows the Calling of Moses to rescue the Hebrew nation from their slavery in Egypt and to lead them to the Holy Land. Moses hedges against the Divine Request, offering all sorts of excuses to the extent of eventually angering G-d.
Why did Moses hedge?
Because he feared that he would not be recognized as a Hebrew, as did his wife-to-be, Zipporah, daughter of a Midianite priest, when she and her sisters told their father that they had met ‘an Egyptian’ (Exod. 2:15).
He would not be seen as sharing the Hebrew culture or religion, because he spent all his life amongst Gentiles. He grew up as a child amongst the aristocracy of and in the household of an Egyptian Pharaoh. After he killed an Egyptian soldier for beating a Hebrew slave, he had a very bad experience when, in trying to make peace between two Hebrews fighting, that one turned on him for killing the Egyptian soldier. He realized that his life was now in danger and he fled to the land of Midian where he spent the next 60 years amongst Gentiles, even marrying into a Gentile family, and now – this Calling by G-d.
How could he expect the great Hebrew nation to except him as their redeemer?
So here was a man who grew up as an Egyptian, and lived a non-Hebrew life amongst the Gentiles all his life – now called on to go and rescue the nation of his birth in the Name of the G-d of their forefathers.
As we are standing ahead of the Ultimate Redemption today, that a non-Jew comes to the Rabbonim (the elders) of Israel and international Judaism, to claim and to offer to lead them to the ultimate Redemption that they and their fathers have been praying for throughout the ages, throughout persecutions and pogroms, throughout the Holocaust!
If everything else in the Bible records regarding the ancient Exodus, serve as metaphors (as used by Rabbinic interpretation and other commentators), pointing to the coming ultimate Redemption… could this not be a metaphor also?
Could this perhaps indicate that the Hebraic Core amongst 10-Israel, the ‘Yoseph’, (as we have concluded in our previous Parashot – week 8 throughout week 12), that they would be Divinely called to become the Peace Maker between the brothers – thus bringing Redemption, the Return of the Shechinah of HaShem? (i.e. when His People have made Peace amongst themselves).
The need for Unity amongst HaShem’s People – a condition for Redemption – became evident from our last few Parashot about Yoseph.
The Call for Unity is often echoed by Jewish commentators but with the accent only on Judah – the Jewish community. They loose out of sight that the Redemption can NOT take place without the presence and the Return of 10-Israel (Ephraim) – and this is where serious reconciliation is required.
Such a Reconciliation will require for Judah a confrontation with and the Challenge to accommodate the “Egyptian Moses” or the “Egyptian Yoseph.”
This is where real Unity is required before the Shechinah of HaShem will return.
This is also where a Peace Maker Redeemer “Yoseph” is required. Is it then far fetched, in the light of the hints provided by this Parashah, to imagine 10-Israel to step into this position virtually as a “Messiah ben Yosef”, i.e. in the image of a Messiah ben Yosef?
Let us consider this as a possibility:
- Is it not true that 10-Israel would be hedging against such a Divine Calling like a Moses of old, alleging that Judah will not hear them for being regarded by Jews as ‘Egyptian’ (non-Jewish, Messianics, ex-Christians, pagans)?
- Like Moses, who chose the Hebrew side and righteousness amongst its people but were turned on by one of the Hebrews, they fear the accusation that they expect to hear from Judah: “Who made you ruler and judge over us?” Which was the same accusation of the brothers against Yoseph! (who represents the Hebraic Restoration Core amongst 10-Israel).
Rabbi Levi Chazen (The Jewish idea, Jerusalem) reminds us to learn from this Calling of Moses, that HaShem selects whoever He deems worthy, to fulfill even the greatest events in His Redemption Process. He quotes the Netziv (Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin, 1893) who refers to this and advises: “Let’s not give advice to Hashem on how to redeem His people.”
He brings an historical example from the early times of the Second Temple period. Who would have believed that the return and the rebuilding of the Second Temple came about through the hands of Koresh, king of Persia – a non-Jew! Most Jews at the time did not believe that the Redemption could come about through him, so they did not return home to the Land of Israel.
“Moreover, the few who did return, for the most part, were intermarried and did not keep Shabbat. But through and through, this was the way that Hashem brought about the Redemption, and it was only because the entire nation did not “see the writing on the wall’ and understand the Redemption process, that the full Redemption [ of the 12 Tribes ] did not come about. ” (source)
What should we learn from this?
Guidelines for 10-Israel
“10-Israel” represents the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel who were exiled from the Promised Land 8 centuries BCE because of their rebellion against the Torah and specifically against the appointed ‘Law givers’ (Mechoqeck), a Divine Mandate in the hands of the Tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10).
Amongst them is a core section who is returning to their ‘Hebrew Roots’ in a modern mass wave of Restoration. Accordingly these people return to Torah principles and the tenets of Faith of Judaism and become obsessed with a great urge to “Return to the Land of Israel” (as foretold by the Prophets) in the Bible.
If they are truly called by G-d to intercede in the Redemption of Israel, then they should:
- learn from this Parashah and not follow in the footsteps of Moses, to hedge from their responsibility which they are called for;
- follow the council of HaShem to Moses to “Go in His Name”, to trust Him; to be fearless; to use the signs that He has given them, i.e. the Truths, spiritual Blessings, their spiritual strengths;
- to pursue Peace with their brother Judah and those ‘other non-Jewish brothers’ who are still far off, not to be spiritually proud, arrogant and boastful, not to impose their (still Egyptian tainted) brand of Faith on Judah or their brothers;
- to first remove the beam from their own eyes before insisting to remove the splinter from their brothers’ eye;
- to show due respect for Judah’s Divine Mandate of Law (Torah) interpreter and its 3500 year experience in practicing this jurisdiction;
- to ensure that they are educated properly in the tenets of the Original True Faith of the Bible which they are pursuing and which had Divinely been placed in the curatorship of Judah (Gen. 49:10 – and even according to their own Scriptures in Rom. 3:2, Math. 23:2).
- to show the necessary humility and admission in their approaches to Judah, to the fact that they are – like Moses and Yoseph – from ‘Egyptian culture’ which truly is an abomination for Judah.
- All this should NOT affect their boldness of approach “in the Name of HaShem”, i.e. reflecting the characteristics that His Name represents and stands for. And He shall be with them!
Guidelines for Judah from this Parashah:
- To realize, admit and be receptive to the fact that “Let us not give advice to Hashem on how to redeem His people.” (Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin, 1893). Let us be guided by our history and the place that non-Jews played in our history – even the Great Moses who was an ‘Egyptian’ himself. and was advised and assisted in Torah execution by his Gentile father-in-law Jethro who was a Midianite priest! And Yoseph?
- Let us acknowledge, honour and respect Gentiles who reflect the spirit of righteousness – as did the midwives and the Egyptian Princess in our Parashah. Current re-awakening and Returning-to-their-roots Ten Tribers are numbering in the millions across the world. This figure is further heavily inflated by masses of pro-Israel Christian Zionists who support Israel and often get the cold shoulder from Jews after. There also is the unfortunate popular attitude amongst Jews that “they are good for their money and their votes – but, let it stop there please!” If these people were merely ‘strangers’, such attitude may have been wise – but it would be disastrous for the Redemption if they were truly Lost and Re-awakening Ten Tribers, called on by HaShem like a Moses to forward Redemption of His People!