The first time in the ocean

If we needed to decide what grade to give Moses after his first time as a leader the letter F was probably the one the most of us would write in his “report card”.
In Exodus 3:18 God had commanded Moses-

“וְשָׁמְע֖וּ לְקֹלֶ֑ךָ וּבָאתָ֡ אַתָּה֩ וְזִקְנֵ֨י יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל אֶל־מֶ֣לֶךְ מִצְרַ֗יִם וַאֲמַרְתֶּ֤ם אֵלָיו֙ יְהוָ֞ה אֱלֹהֵ֤י הָֽעִבְרִיִּים֙ נִקְרָ֣ה עָלֵ֔ינוּ וְעַתָּ֗ה נֵֽלֲכָה־נָּ֞א דֶּ֣רֶךְ שְׁלֹ֤שֶׁת יָמִים֙ בַּמִּדְבָּ֔ר וְנִזְבְּחָ֖ה לַֽיהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ׃”

“And they (the elders of Israel) shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The Lord God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.”

However, when Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh (without the elders!) They said these words to him:

“וְאַחַ֗ר בָּ֚אוּ מֹשֶׁ֣ה וְאַהֲרֹ֔ן וַיֹּאמְר֖וּ אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֑ה כֹּֽה־אָמַ֤ר יְהוָה֙ אֱלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל שַׁלַּח֙ אֶת־עַמִּ֔י וְיָחֹ֥גּוּ לִ֖י בַּמִּדְבָּֽר׃וַיֹּ֣אמֶר פַּרְעֹ֔ה מִ֤י יְהוָה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֶשְׁמַ֣ע בְּקֹל֔וֹ לְשַׁלַּ֖ח אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל לֹ֤א יָדַ֙עְתִּי֙ אֶת־יְהוָ֔ה וְגַ֥ם אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לֹ֥א אֲשַׁלֵּֽחַ׃ וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ אֱלֹהֵ֥י הָעִבְרִ֖ים נִקְרָ֣א עָלֵ֑ינוּ נֵ֣לֲכָה נָּ֡א דֶּרֶךְ֩ שְׁלֹ֨שֶׁת יָמִ֜ים בַּמִּדְבָּ֗ר וְנִזְבְּחָה֙ לַֽיהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵ֔ינוּ פֶּ֨ן־יִפְגָּעֵ֔נוּ בַּדֶּ֖בֶר א֥וֹ בֶחָֽרֶב׃”

“And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness. And Pharaoh said, who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go. And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days’ journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the Lord our God; lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword. (Exodus 5:1-3)

The Lord said to say the he revealed himself to them as the God of Hebrew and that they ask to worship him for three days. Moses and Aaron changed the name of The Lord to God of Israel and added that he commanded Pharaoh to let his people go’ so they would worship him in the wilderness without a time limit!

Even after Pharaoh answered and then Moses and Aaron said the original message they added that if they won’t do it – god will hurt them with pestilence or the sword!

What a mistake of rookies!

Or maybe this is the way of Moses to show God that he doesn’t want to be the leader.

Another option is that this what God wanted to happen.

What do you think that the words of Moses (and Aaron)
tell us?
Have a blessed weekend,
Eli

Photo by Peter Feghali on Unsplash

ocean

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Seven days with the burning bush

The Torah tells us five times that Moses said no to God after he commanded him to be the leader of the Israelites. The fifth time is brought to us with interesting words, as written:

“וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יְהוָ֜ה אֵלָ֗יו מִ֣י שָׂ֣ם פֶּה֮ לָֽאָדָם֒ א֚וֹ מִֽי־יָשׂ֣וּם אִלֵּ֔ם א֣וֹ חֵרֵ֔שׁ א֥וֹ פִקֵּ֖חַ א֣וֹ עִוֵּ֑ר הֲלֹ֥א אָנֹכִ֖י יְהוָֽה׃ וְעַתָּ֖ה לֵ֑ךְ וְאָנֹכִי֙ אֶֽהְיֶ֣ה עִם־פִּ֔יךָ וְהוֹרֵיתִ֖יךָ אֲשֶׁ֥ר תְּדַבֵּֽר׃וַיֹּ֖אמֶר בִּ֣י אֲדֹנָ֑י שְֽׁלַֽח־נָ֖א בְּיַד־תִּשְׁלָֽח׃”

“The LORD said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.” (Exodus 4:11-13)

The last sentence in verse 13 is translated literally-“Pardon me The Lord-please send with your hand send”. In other words- Moses is ready to give up the leadership even though he knows that he can’t. The Midrash mentioned that the conversation in the burning bush was seven days. Eventually God decided not to speak anymore but to act, and explained Moses that Aaron is on his way to meet him and that he will speak to the people- NO MORE EXCUSS.

And Moses went. This is how his leadership started. Sometimes speaking is not enough.
Especially if it seven days of speaking!

Have a lovely day, Eli

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

חדשות

Who am I and who are you? Or the first tip of Moses

Moses was chosen by God to be the leader of the Israelites. The bible is not telling us why Moses was chosen and we only have some clues that can help us:

When he was in the hand of his mother, she saw that he was good, as the light was good in the eyes of God on the first day of creation. After Moses protected the Hebrew man, tried to solve stop a fight of two Hebrew man and saved the daughters of Jethro, he came to Mount Sinai as a shepherd- and the Israelites needed a shepherd with a light.

In the long conversation that Moses had with God, especially as a listener, he had only two questions in this chapter- WHO AM I AND WHO ARE YOU, as written:

“וַיֹּ֤אמֶר מֹשֶׁה֙ אֶל־הָ֣אֱלֹהִ֔ים מִ֣י אָנֹ֔כִי כִּ֥י אֵלֵ֖ךְ אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֑ה וְכִ֥י אוֹצִ֛יא אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מִמִּצְרָֽיִם…וַיֹּ֨אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֜ה אֶל־הָֽאֱלֹהִ֗ים הִנֵּ֨ה אָנֹכִ֣י בָא֮ אֶל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵל֒ וְאָמַרְתִּ֣י לָהֶ֔ם אֱלֹהֵ֥י אֲבוֹתֵיכֶ֖ם שְׁלָחַ֣נִי אֲלֵיכֶ֑ם וְאָֽמְרוּ־לִ֣י מַה־שְּׁמ֔וֹ מָ֥ה אֹמַ֖ר אֲלֵהֶֽם׃”

“And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt… And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, what is his name? What shall I say unto them? (Exodus 3:11, 13)

These hidden questions are covered by the thought of Moses that he can’t do it; He is not able to be the leader. However, after these two questions and three more in the next one- Moses will be the leader, even if he didn’t want to do it.
This is how the third semester of his life starts.

The questions of Moses are the basic questions of Dialog that we must ask. Thanks dear Moses for this tip!

Have a blessed week, Eli

Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplashshane-rounce-615895-unsplash.jpg

The daughter of Pharaoh-the history saver

The daughter of Pharaoh, Bityah according to the Jewish tradition, is definitely a character who saves the history. When she went down to the Nile River to wash herself with her maidservants- she saw the ark and after her maid brought it to her she heard a voice.

This was the voice of the future hero, the voice of the future to be the leader of the Israelites, the voice of Moses. It’s interesting to read the verse that describes this voice, since it creates a tension. Let’s examine the words as written:

” וַתִּפְתַּח֙ וַתִּרְאֵ֣הוּ אֶת־הַיֶּ֔לֶד וְהִנֵּה־נַ֖עַר בֹּכֶ֑ה וַתַּחְמֹ֣ל עָלָ֔יו וַתֹּ֕אמֶר מִיַּלְדֵ֥י הָֽעִבְרִ֖ים זֶֽה׃”

“And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, this is one of the Hebrews’ children.”(Exodus 2:6)

In Hebrew that word that is written to explain the voice of the crying is “Na’ar” (נַ֖עַר) which means a lad or nowadays we say a teenager. How could it be and Bityah knew that this is a Hebrew child.

About the second question we can claim that she saw that Moses was circumcised, and this solves the tension, but what about the voice of the lad that is not found in the translation.

Eben Ezra claimed that his body was like a body of the lad, Rashi mentioned that his voice of crying was as a voice of a teenager, Chizkuny said that it was Aaron that cried about Moses and not the voice of Moses. The Midrash explained that his voice was changed to a voice of the lad since Gabriel the angel slapped him.

And you, dear readers, what do you say?

How would you solve this tension?

This time my voice is with Rashi

Have a blessed week, Eli

Photo by Shelby Miller on Unsplash

baby

Exodus 1- The beginning of the Israelites

I’m thrilled to start a new book in the Bible, the book of Exodus. In Hebrew the book is called “Shemot”, meaning “names” due to the second word of this fantastic book. This is the chapter when the Israelites are no longer the sons of Jacob/Israel- they are people and the one that defines them as people is the new Egyptian King, as written:

” וַיָּ֥קָם מֶֽלֶךְ־חָדָ֖שׁ עַל־מִצְרָ֑יִם אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹֽא־יָדַ֖ע אֶת־יוֹסֵֽף׃ וַיֹּ֖אמֶר אֶל־עַמּ֑וֹ הִנֵּ֗ה עַ֚ם בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל רַ֥ב וְעָצ֖וּם מִמֶּֽנּוּ׃

“Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we” (Exodus 1:8-9)

Imagine yourself as one the Egyptians in those days. You are living in a land with other people that are growing and growing, Joseph is not there anymore, there’s a new king- what would you do as an Egyptian?

Most of the Jewish commentaries and also King James translation decided that Shifrah and Pu’ah were actually Hebrew women (Yocheved and Miriam). However, I think that if you wish to imagine two Egyptian women in those days, I think that they are described in this chapter, as written:

“וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ מֶ֣לֶךְ מִצְרַ֔יִם לַֽמְיַלְּדֹ֖ת הָֽעִבְרִיֹּ֑ת אֲשֶׁ֨ר שֵׁ֤ם הָֽאַחַת֙ שִׁפְרָ֔ה וְשֵׁ֥ם הַשֵּׁנִ֖ית פּוּעָֽה׃ וַיֹּ֗אמֶר בְּיַלֶּדְכֶן֙ אֶת־הָֽעִבְרִיּ֔וֹת וּרְאִיתֶ֖ן עַל־הָאָבְנָ֑יִם אִם־בֵּ֥ן הוּא֙ וַהֲמִתֶּ֣ן אֹת֔וֹ וְאִם־בַּ֥ת הִ֖יא וָחָֽיָה׃וַתִּירֶ֤אןָ הַֽמְיַלְּדֹת֙ אֶת־הָ֣אֱלֹהִ֔ים וְלֹ֣א עָשׂ֔וּ כַּאֲשֶׁ֛ר דִּבֶּ֥ר אֲלֵיהֶ֖ן מֶ֣לֶךְ מִצְרָ֑יִם וַתְּחַיֶּ֖יןָ אֶת־הַיְלָדִֽים׃וַיִּקְרָ֤א מֶֽלֶךְ־מִצְרַ֙יִם֙ לַֽמְיַלְּדֹ֔ת וַיֹּ֣אמֶר לָהֶ֔ן מַדּ֥וּעַ עֲשִׂיתֶ֖ן הַדָּבָ֣ר הַזֶּ֑ה וַתְּחַיֶּ֖יןָ אֶת־הַיְלָדִֽים׃וַתֹּאמַ֤רְןָ הַֽמְיַלְּדֹת֙ אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֔ה כִּ֣י לֹ֧א כַנָּשִׁ֛ים הַמִּצְרִיֹּ֖ת הָֽעִבְרִיֹּ֑ת כִּֽי־חָי֣וֹת הֵ֔נָּה בְּטֶ֨רֶם תָּב֧וֹא אֲלֵהֶ֛ן הַמְיַלֶּ֖דֶת וְיָלָֽדוּ׃ וַיֵּ֥יטֶב אֱלֹהִ֖ים לַֽמְיַלְּדֹ֑ת וַיִּ֧רֶב הָעָ֛ם וַיַּֽעַצְמ֖וּ מְאֹֽד”

“And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it is a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it is a daughter, then she shall live. But the midwives feared God, and did not, as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive. And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive? And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them. Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.”(Exodus 1:15-20)

The idea that they were Egyptians is when you read the beginning of verse 15 like this: “And the king of Egypt spake to the (Egyptian) women that helped the Hebrew women to give birth…”

When the King of Egypt spoke with them, they describe the Egyptian women and the Hebrew women. God also gave them houses (verse 21), so the conclusion is one- they were Egyptians who saved the Hebrew babies!

What do you think about those women?

Share with us!

Chag Sukkoth Sameach!

Eli

Photo by wang dongxu on Unsplash

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Goodbye Genesis

Genesis 50 is a sign of the greatness of Joseph. Now after the death of his father, he could have done evil to the brothers. It seems that the brothers were afraid until these words of Joseph, as written:

” ַיִּרְא֤וּ אֲחֵֽי־יוֹסֵף֙ כִּי־מֵ֣ת אֲבִיהֶ֔ם וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ ל֥וּ יִשְׂטְמֵ֖נוּ יוֹסֵ֑ף וְהָשֵׁ֤ב יָשִׁיב֙ לָ֔נוּ אֵ֚ת כָּל־הָ֣רָעָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר גָּמַ֖לְנוּ אֹתֽוֹ׃וַיְצַוּ֕וּ אֶל־יוֹסֵ֖ף לֵאמֹ֑ר אָבִ֣יךָ צִוָּ֔ה לִפְנֵ֥י מוֹת֖וֹ לֵאמֹֽר׃ כֹּֽה־תֹאמְר֣וּ לְיוֹסֵ֗ף אָ֣נָּ֡א שָׂ֣א נָ֠א פֶּ֣שַׁע אַחֶ֤יךָ וְחַטָּאתָם֙ כִּי־רָעָ֣ה גְמָל֔וּךָ וְעַתָּה֙ שָׂ֣א נָ֔א לְפֶ֥שַׁע עַבְדֵ֖י אֱלֹהֵ֣י אָבִ֑יךָ וַיֵּ֥בְךְּ יוֹסֵ֖ף בְּדַבְּרָ֥ם אֵלָֽיו׃”

“And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying: So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. (Genesis 50:15-17).

The tears of Joseph remark his final forgiveness to his brothers. Now when Jacob was dead- he could have a revenge, but he didn’t.

This is how a book should end- forgiveness is something that you can’t take back according to your convenience.

Have a blessed weekend, see you all on Sunday with Exodus,

Goodbye Genesis, it was a pleasure

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Eli

tyler-nix-608482-unsplash.jpg

Genesis 49- the last words of Jacob

The last words of Jacob were always a riddle to me. Here are some thoughts about them:

Reuben is the first born, but his blessing is positive and negative, probably because he has done something wrong with Bilhah.

Simeon and Levi have a blessing with negative words together, though that we know that Levi eventually was the tribe of the priests while Simeon disappeared.

Judah had the longest blessing with 5 verses and only with good and complexes Hebrew words about his future.

Joseph got a second blessing after his sons were blessed in the previous chapter.

Also the other sons were blessed though that in their own life there are no stories about them.

Dinah wasn’t blessed- these are different times or that the story with the rape in Genesis 34 was too much for her father.

Finally, Jacob wants to come back to the cave of Machpelah- there his father and grandfather are buried with Leah his wife.

Tomorrow it’s the last chapter of Genesis.

Bye Genesis, welcome Exodus,

Photo by Raphael Schaller on Unsplash

Eli

raphael-schaller-88040-unsplash.jpg

Genesis 48- Ephraim and Manasseh

Do you remember who was the only first born in the Bible that really was a hero?
This question is written due to the hidden message of the text- what we expect to happen- not always will happen- on the contrary.
Also in our story we can see this idea- and here it’s revealed in Jacob’s words before the blessings were given, as written:

” וְעַתָּ֡ה שְׁנֵֽי־בָנֶיךָ֩ הַנּוֹלָדִ֨ים לְךָ֜ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֗יִם עַד־בֹּאִ֥י אֵלֶ֛יךָ מִצְרַ֖יְמָה לִי־הֵ֑ם אֶפְרַ֙יִם֙ וּמְנַשֶּׁ֔ה כִּרְאוּבֵ֥ן וְשִׁמְע֖וֹן יִֽהְיוּ־לִֽי׃

“And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine”(Genesis 48:5)

Even though that after these words, Jacob asked Joseph, who are these sons (See verse 9-probably because he was old, or maybe this is another version of the story…), we know from the beginning of this chapter that Ephraim will be greater than Manasseh, although Manasseh is the older.

How’s beautiful is the Bible- the surprises never stop!

For those of you who fast- Tzom Qal and Gemar Chatimah Tovah.

Eli

How much time do you have to live?

People tend to complain. In our world it could be called to comment or to share, or in a politically correct word ventilation.

Asking the question above, it’s no easy. When I asked my students this question in a lesson about Ecclesiastes 3 some were confused. I assume that this is now what they have expected to be asked.

In Genesis 47 Jacob was asked how old he is by Pharaoh Jacob answered as written:

״וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יַעֲקֹב֙ אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֔ה יְמֵי֙ שְׁנֵ֣י מְגוּרַ֔י שְׁלֹשִׁ֥ים וּמְאַ֖ת שָׁנָ֑ה מְעַ֣ט וְרָעִ֗ים הָיוּ֙ יְמֵי֙ שְׁנֵ֣י חַיַּ֔י וְלֹ֣א הִשִּׂ֗יגוּ אֶת־יְמֵי֙ שְׁנֵי֙ חַיֵּ֣י אֲבֹתַ֔י בִּימֵ֖י מְגוּרֵיהֶֽם׃״

And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.”

From this answer we can see how frustrated is Jacob. He didn’t live so much as his fathers, and he also added that his life was evil.

130 it’s a lot of time. No one reached this number in the last centuries. Jacob would have 17 more years.

If you would have known the answer to the question above would you live your life differently? Would you change the question to what new and good this day would bring me even if I won’t know the day of death?

Write me, I would love to read!

Gemar Chatimah Tovah from Israel!
Eli

How to know the future with the help of names?

Names, names, names dear friends.

How’s important the name that you give to your child.
Sometimes when the name can be changed in the Bible in order to change the destiny of the character; Israel was first of all Jacob, Benjamin was the son of Rachel’s affliction.
Genesis 46 gives is the list of the 70 descendants of Jacob that arrived in Egypt. When you read the beginning of the list you can find these words, as written:

“וְאֵ֨לֶּה שְׁמ֧וֹת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל הַבָּאִ֥ים מִצְרַ֖יְמָה יַעֲקֹ֣ב וּבָנָ֑יו בְּכֹ֥ר יַעֲקֹ֖ב רְאוּבֵֽן׃
וּבְנֵ֖י רְאוּבֵ֑ן חֲנ֥וֹךְ וּפַלּ֖וּא וְחֶצְר֥וֹן וְכַרְמִֽי׃
וּבְנֵ֣י שִׁמְע֗וֹן יְמוּאֵ֧ל וְיָמִ֛ין וְאֹ֖הַד וְיָכִ֣ין וְצֹ֑חַר וְשָׁא֖וּל בֶּן־הַֽכְּנַעֲנִֽית:”

“And these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons: Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn. And the sons of Reuben; Hanoch, and Phallu, and Hezron, and Carmi. And the sons of Simeon; Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman.”(Genesis 46:8-10).

If the author felt that he must tell us that Reuben is the first born of Jacob, although we know it, Reuben will be the first born on the paper, and we can’t be surprised why his tribe decided not to enter the Promised Land in the future.

If we read that the son of Simeon is Saul, who was a son of Canaanite, King Saul won’t end his life in a good way. These are the links that this chapter sends us to the future.

I will be very happy to read your comments about this in another future- from now and on…

Have a blessed week, Eli

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

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