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Friday, January 20

The Weekly Shtikle - Va'eira

After being rejected by B'nei Yisroel "out of anguish of spirit and hard work," Moshe Rabbeinu is instructed to appear once again before Paroah. Moshe responds with a logical argument, (6:12) "behold, B'nei Yisroel has not listened to me. How then will Paroah listen to me for I am of uncircumcised lips." Rashi comments that this is one of the 10 instances of the use of á fortiori argument, better known to most as "kal vachomer," in the Torah. The full listing is discussed in the Midrash (Bereishis Rabba 92). However, many ask that this "kal vachomer" does not follow logically. The Torah tells us exactly why B'nei Yisroel did not listen Moshe. If this reason did not apply to Paroah, then Moshe's logic is faulty.

Sefas Emes takes a very practical approach to this difficulty, one with which Rabbeinu Tam preceded him by many hundreds of years. The Torah may tell us why B'nei Yisroel did not listen to Moshe, but Moshe, at the time, was not necessarily aware of that reason. Without the knowledge of B'nei Yisroel's inner feelings, Moshe's "kal vachomer" did, in fact, follow logically.

R' Yaakov Weinberg, zt"l, offers a deeper insight into this episode. When Moshe Rabbeinu came before B'nei Yisroel to lead them out of bondage, they should have come to a realization of their importance and sanctity for which they merit such a great deliverance. They chose, instead, to spurn this opportunity and reject Moshe. If B'nei Yisroel could not come to realize their own sanctity and merit, argued Moshe, how could Paroah possibly come to this discovery?

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Dikdukian: Dikdukei Va'eira by Eliyahu Levin
Dikdukian: Leshon Yachid veRabbim by Eliayhu Levin
AstroTorah: Stars Fell on Egypt by R' Ari Storch

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