"Hashem spoke to Moshe and Aharon and commanded them regarding the Children
of Israel...." (6:13)
The Talmud Yerushalmi relates that prior to leaving Mitzrayim, Hashem
commanded Moshe to teach Bnei Yisroel the details involved in fulfilling the
mitzva of "shiluach avadim" - "emancipation of slaves". However, the laws
connected to slavery were not pertinent to Bnei Yisroel until the laws of
Yovel, the Jubilee year came into effect in the Land of Israel, over fifty
years later. Why then is this the most opportune time to instruct Bnei
Yisroel concerning these laws?
The Talmud states that giving charity on a fast day is the most effective
manner to harness the energies of the day. Why is charity essential to
fasting? Furthermore, Rashi interjects that the best time to give the
charity is immediately after the conclusion of the fast. How does Rashi draw
The most effective way to perform a mitzva which involves human interaction
in an act of chesed is to become completely sensitive to the plight of the
recipient. A fast day is the most opportune time to empathize with the
needy. When a person suffers from the pangs of hunger, he understands the
daily struggle of the recipient of his charity. Therefore, Rashi teaches
that after the conclusion of the fast, prior to sitting down to a meal, a
person should give charity, for this creates the greatest level of empathy
for the needy recipient.
When Bnei Yisroel were about to embark upon their passage from slavery to
salvation, Hashem commanded Moshe to instruct them regarding the
emancipation of slaves. It was at that moment that Bnei Yisroel could
internalize the sensitivity required to perform this mitzva. They could
empathize with the slave who they were commanded to set free and would treat
him with greater sensitivity.
1.Rosh Hashana 3:5
From The Mouth of Babes
"Aharon took Elisheva daughter of Aminadav, sister of Nachshon..."(6:23)
We find the genealogy of Moshe and Aharon in this week's parsha. The Torah
uncharacteristically records not only Aharon's wife, Elisheva, but her
brother Nachshon as well. From this the Talmud derives that if a person
desires to know the true nature of his wife-to-be, he should investigate her
brothers. It would seem logical to think that in order to discover the
nature of a future spouse, a person should investigate her parents.
Furthermore, the Talmud on numerous occasions espouses the desirability of a
spouse based upon the parents' qualities. Why then does the verse
emphasize investigation of the brother?
An adult is capable of projecting an image which does not truly reflect his
or her essence. The facades which people create for themselves make it
impossible to assess their true nature. Children are not as sensitive to the
need to project an image which will give them good social standing as are
adults. Therefore, a child's behavior generally reflects his true nature.
The nature which a child reflects is not only his own, but that of his
parents as well, for they mold his behavior patterns during his formative
years. Consequently, investigating a woman's brother is the best way to
investigate her parents, for the behavior of the child, impervious to any
facade his parents may be hiding behind, reflects every nuance and
inflection of the parents' behavior. The reason why the brother exhibits the
parents' traits to a greater extent than his sister, is that a Jewish girl
is, by nature, more reserved, and this may impede the detection of character
traits and attitudes imbued in her by her parents. On the other hand, her
brother, who is more aggressive and therefore, less reserved, can offer a
more comprehensive evaluation of the parents' attitudes and nature.
1.Bava Kama 110 See however Rashbam
2.See Kiddushin 69-70, Berachos 64b the Talmud describes the importance of
marrying a bas Talmid Chacham