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Friday, Tevet 24, 5781 / January 8, 2021


In the end of this week's Parsha, Shmot, the Torah tells us that Moshe went to Pharaoh, as commanded by G-d, to tell him to let the people of Israel go.   But instead of making things better, Pharaoh made the Jews work much harder.  Moshe returned to G-d and said, "L-rd, why have You treated this people so badly?  Why did You send me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has dealt badly with this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all." (Exodus 5:22-23).


G-d then told Moshe, "Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh; for with a strong hand will he let them go, and with a strong hand will he drive them out of his land." (Exodus 6:1).   


Q.  We see here and even before in the Parsha that Moshe questions and complains to G-d. How is it possible that Moshe, the true servant of G-d and greatest of all prophets, questions the ways of G-d?


A.   While it is very praiseworthy for one to justify G-d's ways on himself, we shouldn't justify bad things that happen to others. It is important that when we see others suffering that we should complain to G-d and ask why, not that it should, G-d forbid, in any way diminish our belief in G-d, but for the purpose of asking G-d to alleviate their suffering. 


A Chasid who fell on hard times came to his Rebbe and poured out his heart. He went on and on complaining about his situation and asked the Rebbe for his blessings so that things will improve.


In the course of the conversation, the Rebbe asked how a certain individual who lived in the same town as the Chasid, was doing. The Chasid told the Rebbe that that individual is having a very rough time, but in the course of the conversation the Chasid threw out the following remark, "Who are we to ask questions of G-d?  Surely G-d knows what he is doing."


The Rebbe became very serious and said, "In your difficult situation, you don't find justification for G-d; but the other's situation you do justify?" The Chasid realized the mistake he made. The Rebbe then told him that he will be helped if he helps the other person. By helping another person, G-d will help him too!


Q.   Our sages say that when Pharaoh’s daughter walked by the river and saw the basket in which Moshe was placed, she stretched out her hand to reach for the basket. However, it was beyond her reach. A miracle happened and her hand stretched out and she reached the basket. Why did she even attempt to stretch out her hand when she knew she couldn’t reach it?


A.  Our sages say this teaches us an important lesson. If ever we are in a situation where someone needs help, we shouldn’t give up just because it seems impossible. We have to make an effort and try our best to help the other person. When we do our best, G-d will do His best and, just like with Pharaoh’s daughter, G-d will help us achieve that goal.




Montrealcandle lighting time: 4:04 / Shabbat ends: 5:13