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“I am not a man of words… for I am heavy of mouth and heavy of speech.” (4:10)

Moshe Rabbeinu implored Hashem to send someone else to Pharaoh. He claimed that his speech impediment would make it very difficult for him to express himself effectively and to articulate his demands. It is interesting to note that Moshe felt that his impediment would only be problematic in his dialogue with Pharaoh. What about Klal Yisrael? How would they react to a leader who could not communicate in a clear and effective manner? Apparently, Moshe Rabbeinu was not concerned about the Jews. They were not so vacuous and shallow to judge a person only according to his external qualities. They…

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“And say to him (Pharaoh), “Hashem, G-d of the Ivriyim, (Hebrews), happened upon us.” (3:18)

Hashem instructed Moshe Rabbeinu to approach Pharaoh on behalf of the Jewish People. This is the first time that an address is to be made to a gentile king in the name of the Jewish People. We find the plural derivative of the word Ivri in a form, Ivriyim, with two ‘yudin,” which never occurs again. Elsewhere, it is always written as Ivrim. Horav S.R. Hirsch, z.l., posits that the character which is defined by the word Ivri is herein underscored. The word, “Ivriyim,” emphasizes not only the character that marks the people as a whole, but one which characterizes…

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

  Although raised in the splendor of Pharaoh’s palace, exposed constantly to the anti-Semitic vitriol that was undoubtedly a part of the daily conversation, Moshe Rabbeinu remained the son of Amram and Yocheved. He did not become an Egyptian prince; he remained a Jew, proud of his heritage, empathetic to his brethren, compassionate for the downtrodden, broken slaves. He did not merely identify with his People through lip service; he went out to them. He wanted to observe their suffering and grieve with them. He was a true “noseh b’ol im chaveiro,” one who carries the yoke with his friend….

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“They embittered their lives with hard work…all their labors that they performed with them were with crushing harshness.” (1:14)

In the Talmud Sotah 11b, Chazal give us an insight into the avodas perach, crushing/harsh labor, to which the Egyptians subjected Klal Yisrael. They inverted their tasks, giving the men work that was usually performed by women and vice versa. This seems enigmatic. If a man is forced to perform a woman’s work, is that to be considered crushing and harsh? It may not be his style, but it certainly is not heartless. The Ozrover Rebbe, z.l., derives from here that any form of labor that is not habitual for an individual is, in effect, considered avodas perach. The difficulty…

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