Rashi cites Chazal (Shemos Rabbah 1:21), who expound that amah (translated above as maidservant) means arm (she stretched out her arm), and, according to their interpretation, her forearm became long (stretched) many amos (cubits) to enable her to reach the basket and draw the basket out of the water. Bisyah’s (daughter of Pharaoh) behavior begs elucidation. Apparently, she was a few cubits away from the basket. What possessed her to think that she could just stretch out her hand and reach the basket? She experienced a miracle, since, by natural convention, she should not have been able to reach the basket.
Horav Yitzchak, zl, m’Vorka, derives from here that when someone is in dire need, we do not mull over the pros and cons of the possibility of success. We act! If we reach him – good. If not – at least we have tried. If Hashem sees fit to provide His assistance to make it happen – it will happen, but, at least we have tried. Sitting back to do nothing is not an option.
Ask any leader who built an organization, an institution, from the bottom up – ignoring all the naysayers – how many miracles, how much siyata d’Shmaya, he experienced. When we see a need, we act – regardless of its rationality. One of today’s legends of chinuch and achievement in an area that fifty years ago was considered impossible is Horav Yitzchak David Grossman, Shlita. To read the book of his life and achievements (Living Legend, by Rabbi Nachman Seltzer) boggles the mind. While space does not permit to focus on his accomplishments, let it suffice to say that they are many. I would like to focus on: what/who motivated him to undertake the inconceivable; and the message of daas Torah which he received at the outset of his impossible dream.
Rav Yitzchak David enjoyed a very close relationship with Horav Moshe Mordechai Biderman, zl, the Lelover Rebbe. He never made a move without prior consultation with the saintly Rebbe. One day, the Rebbe told him, Itche Duvid (Yitzchak David), Efsher vest arupgein a kik-tun vos ir kent eppes auftun in Migdal HaEmek; “perhaps go down, look around and see if you can accomplish anything in Migdal HaEmek.” That was it – not even an order, just a suggestion. Rav Grossman had hardly heard of the place and, when he did, it was far from complimentary. However, the Rebbe had spoken. They had no room for discussion, regardless of the improbability of success. He had no idea how or where he would obtain funding, but he had an idea, and he would do whatever he could, but, ultimately, it was up to Hashem to make it happen.
One of his first students was a boy who, at a young age, was self-inducted into a life of crime. Rav Grossman refused to give up on him, and he took him from yeshivah to yeshivah, to no avail. Crime and street life seemed more alluring than Rava and Abaya. Finally, at wits’ end, he decided to ask the Steipler Gaon, zl, how much time and energy he was obligated to expend for this one boy who had no desire to learn. The Steipler replied, “There is no limit. If there is even the slightest chance that you might save this boy’s life, you must continue doing your best.”
Rav Grossman renewed his efforts, and today that boy is a revered talmid chacham with an impressive resume. We do not give up. We do what we can, and the rest we leave to Hashem.