Moses’s Renewed Mission
וַיְדַבֵּר אֱלֹהִים אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אֲנִי יְהֹוָה׃ Hashem spoke to Moshe and said to him, “I am Hashem. וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה הֵן אֲנִי עֲרַל שְׂפָתַיִם וְאֵיךְ יִשְׁמַע אֵלַי פַּרְעֹה׃ Moshe appealed to Hashem, saying, “See, I am of impeded speech; how then should Pharaoh heed me!”
וַיְדַבֵּר אֱלֹהִים אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אֲנִי יְהֹוָה׃
Hashem spoke to Moshe and said to him, “I am Hashem.
וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה הֵן אֲנִי עֲרַל שְׂפָתַיִם וְאֵיךְ יִשְׁמַע אֵלַי פַּרְעֹה׃
Moshe appealed to Hashem, saying, “See, I am of impeded speech; how then should Pharaoh heed me!”
Last week’s portion left Moses greatly discouraged. Not only did Pharaoh not release the Israelites from bondage, he made things even worse! God must reassure Moses that this, too, is part of His Divine Plan for the development of the Israelite Nation. He outlines the five stages of His plan, from taking them out of slavery to bringing them to the land of their forefathers as a heritage. Moses brings God’s words to the children of Israel, but they are too oppressed to appreciate them.
God then sends Moses back to Pharaoh to offer one more chance to make the right choice, but Moses is still skeptical that he is the man for the job. The Torah takes this opportunity to show the reader that Moses is, indeed, the ideal individual, by listing his righteous lineage from Jacob forward.
The Israel Bible points out a significant semantic distinction in God’s plan for the Exodus. When telling Moses of His promise to give the nation the land of their forefathers, he calls it a morasha, a heritage, and not a yerusha, an inheritance. This indicates the people will have to work for the land and will be responsible to care for it for the sake of future generations.
Over the centuries, the Jewish people have taken that responsibility very seriously. Even when the land was not under Jewish self-rule, many individuals and groups made great personal sacrifices to come to the land of Israel. Despite the hardships, they worked the land and laid the foundation for the thriving country it is today. From draining swamps for farmland to building a high-tech haven, Jewish immigrants to the land of Israel are committed to preserving their heritage from God!
Virtual Classroom Discussion
Although the Torah is relatively progressive in its attitude towards women as compared to the surrounding cultures of the time it describes (think Deborah the Judge), there aren’t many female characters in leading roles in the text. Yet, in Moses’s genealogy, three women are mentioned specifically: Moses’s mother, Jochebed, Aaron’s wife, Elisheba, and Aaron’s daughter-in-law, whose name is not given. Why do you think these women in particular are included? What might be their significance in Moses’s life?