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וילך ויפגשהו בהר האלקים וישק לו

And he (Aharon) went and encountered him (Moshe) at the mountain of G-d, and he kissed him. (4:27)

According to Rambam, Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon HaKohen met at Har Sinai. What seems to be a simple meeting of two brothers is described by Chazal as an encounter of two individuals with complementary character traits. “This is what is written, Chesed v’emes nifgashu, tzedek v’shalom nashaku, ‘Kindness and truth met, righteous and peace kissed’” (Tehillim 85:11). Kindness” refers to Aharon, and “truth” refers to Moshe. This is what is meant by “kindness” and “truth” met – “And he (Aharon) met him (Moshe) at the mountain of G-d.” “Righteous” refers to Moshe and “peace” refers to Aharon. Thus, “kiss” corresponds…

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ומשה היה רעה את צאן יתרו חתנו כהן מדין

Moshe was shepherding the sheep of Yisro, his father-in-law, the Priest of Midyan. (3:1)

The Torah is informing us that Moshe Rabbeinu’s vocation prior to his being selected as the man who would lead the Jewish People from Egypt, and who would shepherd them throughout their desert journey, was a shepherd. The Torah does not waste words. If the Torah mentions Moshe’s background, it is because it is vital to his resume as leader. Chazal explain that our quintessential leader was first given a “trial run” as Yisro’s shepherd, in order to ascertain his leadership abilities. After seeing how Moshe performed as a shepherd, Hashem chose him to lead our ancestors. What did he…

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ויגדל משה ויצא אל אחיו וירא בסבלתם

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

“Moshe grew up”. The Torah teaches us that the definition of “growing up” is assuming responsibility. It has nothing to do with age. Personally identifying with the plight of the Jews; viewing them as his brothers – despite the fact that he had been raised amid royalty and wealth – was a sign of Moshe’s maturation. The next step in his growth process was actually leaving the royal palace and joining together with his brothers in their labor. Last, as the well-known Rashi expounds – Nosan eino v’libo liheyos meitzar aleihem; “He applied his eyes and heart to see their…

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וימררו את חייהם בעבודה קשה... את כל עבודתם אשר עבדו בהם בפרך

They embittered their lives with hard work… All the labors that they performed with them were with crushing hardness. (1:14)

The Talmud Pesachim 39a explains that Chazeres/ lettuce, which may be used for marror, bitter herbs, is representational of the type of crushing hard labor to which the Jewish People were subjected by their Egyptian taskmasters. Chazeres begins soft (at first, when one bites into it, it seems soft, almost sweet), becoming marror and bitter tasting overtime; likewise, the Egyptian initiated the Jewish slave labor with sweetness: either by offering them money in reimbursement for their time and toil; or by convincing them of the significance of their labor, etc. Chazal’s statement attributing the use of lettuce to its similarity…

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