Dare Not Be Fooled
By Rabbi Label Lam
And G-d spoke to Moshe and Aaron and commanded them concerning the Children
of Israel and concerning Pharaoh King of Egypt to bring Israel out of Egypt.
These are the heads of their fathers' houses... And Amram took Yocheved his
aunt to him for a wife and she bore to him Aaron and Moses...These are Aaron
and Moses, to whom G-d had said; "Bring out the Children of Israel from the
land of Egypt according to their hosts. These are they that spoke to
Pharaoh, King of Egypt, these are Moshe and Aaron.... (Shemos 6:13...27)
Right before Moses is to speak to Pharaoh, the Torah seemingly switches
subjects and we are treated to a lesson in lineage. Since every word is
crucial and holy, why is there such a deviation from the narrative to tell
us about Moshe and Aaron’s family tree, and why specifically at that moment
immediately prior to their negotiations with Pharaoh?
Rabbi Samson Rafael Hirsch, in his commentary on the Torah writes the
following: "Right from the earliest times it occurred that men who have
shown themselves quite strikingly to be benefactors to their people on
account of their "godlike" deeds, have been invested after their passing
away from this world, with a "godly" origin. We know well enough how in
later times, a Jew whose genealogical table was not available, and because
it was not available, and because he brought the world a few sparks of light
borrowed from the man Moses, came to be considered by nations as begotten by
God, and to doubt his divinity became a capital crime. Our Moses was a man,
remained a man, and is to remain a man..."
For the very same reason the burial place of Moses remains forever obscure,
as it states at the very end of the Torah, "And Moses, the servant of God,
died there in the land of Moab...and no man knows his grave until this very
day." (Devarim 34:5-6) Moshe’s name is mentioned only once in the Haggadah
on Pesach and even then he is referred to as a servant of HASHEM.
It’s not about Moshe. It was never about Moshe. The idea is not to be
distracted by “who” but rather to remain forever with the“what”. The Torah’s
message would otherwise be at risk of being eclipsed and distorted by a
focus on the one “who” happened to be chosen to deliver the Torah. Since
there is strong human tendency to deify the messenger, the Torah goes way
out of its way, in anticipation of such a deviant movement, so we all
dare not be fooled.
DvarTorah, Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Label Lam and Torah.org.