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“And take this staff in your hand with which you shall perform the signs.” (4:17)

Up until this point Hashem had not yet instructed Moshe to perform any specific act with the signs He had shown him.  At this juncture, Hashem told Moshe to take the staff with him and then use it to perform the various “signs”, indicating that he was Hashem’s messenger. Horav S.R. Hirsch, z.l., explains the significance of these signs and the manner in which they communicated to Pharaoh his own inadequacy, and his need to rely upon Hashem. Man acknowledges that he may not have the power to control his destiny. He does, however, believe he has the capacity to…

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“And Moshe thought, I will turn aside now and look at this great sight.” (3:3)

The Midrash lauds Moshe’s actions, as he “exerted” himself to see the wondrous sight. R’ Yochanon says that Moshe took three steps out of his way, while Reish Lakish says that he turned his head to gaze at the remarkable burning bush. We can glean a deeper understanding of Moshe’s action as stated by the Midrash. After all, Moshe did not seem to perform any type of exceptional deed that would warrant Hashem’s revelation as a reward. Horav Eliyahu Dessler, z.l., cites the Alter M’Kelm who posits that it was indeed Moshe’s “simple” action that made him worthy of such…

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“And Moshe grew up and he went out to his brethren and observed their burdens.” (2:11)

Pharaoh’s despotic plans were defeated as the one individual he sought to destroy grew up right before his eyes. It is interesting to note that the Torah does not document any event in Moshe Rabbeinu’s life from his birth until his attaining maturity, when he “went out to his brethren.” Why is nothing mentioned concerning Moshe’s formative years? Perhaps, this omission is attributed to Moshe’s mission in life. He was destined to become Klal Yisrael’s quintessential leader. Until the moment that he demonstrated his qualities of leadership there was no reason to mention his whereabouts, since it would have no…

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“And the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of the first was Shifrah and the name of the second was Puah.” (1:15)

Chazal comment that Shifrah was actually Yocheved, the mother of Moshe Rabbeinu, while Puah was her daughter, Miriam. Chazal attribute Yocheved’s name to the fact that she “smoothed out” the limbs of an infant after its birth. The Midrash indicates that her name is derived from the fact that she washed off the blood which covered an infant at birth. The reasons which Chazal suggest for Yocheved’s name are perplexing!  Should such a rudimentary task as attending to an infant at birth be the catalyst for assigning such an outstanding, virtuous woman as Yocheved another name? A name defines a…

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