Sunday, January 10, 2016

Tiferes Tzvi, Parshas Va'eira - Student Publication of Yeshiva Samson Raphael Hirsch

excerpt, posted with permission

וידבר ה 'אל משה ואל אהרן ויצום אל בני ישראל ואל פרעה מלך מצרים להוציא את בני ישראל מארץ מצרים .אלה ראשי בית אבתם... הוא אהרן ומשה אשר אמר ה 'להם הוציאו את בני ישראל מארץ מצרים על צבאתם .(ו, יג-כו)

' ה spoke to משה and אהרן and commanded them regarding the בני ישראל and regarding , פרעה king of מצרים, to take the בני ישראל out of the land of מצרים. These were the heads of their father’s houses… This was אהרן and משה to whom ' ה said: ‘Take the בני ישראל out of מצרים according to their legions. (6, 13-26)

Why does the תורה interrupt 'ה’s command to משה and אהרן and proceed to record their ancestry? Furthermore, why was it necessary for the תורה to include the descendants of שמעון, ראובן , and the other branches of לוי’s family?

The תורה prefaces משה and אהרן’s successful efforts to redeem the בני ישראל with their family tree. The תורה recounts their genealogy to make it clear that the great leaders of בני ישראל were ordinary people descending from ordinary families. They were not to be depicted as divine “Sons of G-d.” This is contrary to the way in which leaders of other nations are portrayed. This is the purpose of the תורה telling us their biological lineage.

However, one should not think that the average person can become a prophet or a leader. Not everyone can be chosen to be 'ה’s messenger regardless of whether he has developed his potential. משה and אהרן were selected because of their outstanding qualities. Despite the fact that there were other, older sons of יעקב, it was from לוי that the emissaries of ' ה were selected. Even within the tribe of לוי there were other families. משה and אהרן were not picked at random, but were picked due to their exceptional qualities.  Rav Hirsch

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