(Based on a drash by “Harry” e-mailed to me by Jeff Seidel.)Moshe kills egyptian

In this week’s parsha, Shmot, we witness the coming to power of a new Pharaoh who “did not know Joseph” and the subsequent enslavement of the Jewish people. It’s in this parsha that the baby Moshe is delivered out of harms way; placed and sealed into a tiny basket by his parents, Amram and Yocheved, and found by Pharaoh’s righteous daughter, Batya.

The climax of the parsha takes place when Moshe goes out into the world to find his own identity. He sees an Egyptian taskmaster beating a fellow Jew. That parsha states that Moshe looked around and “there was no man.” Rashi extrapolates that when Moshe was looking around and couldn’t see anyone, he was in fact looking within himself and asking himself the question: Who am I? Am I an Egyptian or a Jew? He was searching for his own identity. It’s only when he discovered his identity, that he became a “man.”

Sometimes, we don’t know what we’re capable of. It’s been said, that we can realize our full potential only in times of hardship. For the young leader of the Jewish nation, this moment came when he was given the task of choosing between a life of grandeur and luxury or one where he’d have to be the leader of an entire nation–not an easy task to put it mildly. (In our times, we can see the same concept come to light: it’s much easier to hold an opinion while not in a position of power than to be elected to office and still maintain one’s resolve).

I had a friend of mine share the following quote with me today: A heart is a muscle…and what do muscles do when they are torn? They grow back STRONGER!”  – Unknown

She said it was “for me.” I think I understood what she meant by that, but out of all the people who’ve had a tough go of it, I’ve had a fairly easy life thus far. Moshe, on the other hand, was faced with difficult decisions starting with a very early age. This parsha provides us with an amazing insight into Moshe’s–and the Jewish people’s indomitable spirit, and our ability to persevere in the face of long odds. It’s up to you to continue your Jewish lineage and make your parents, friends, children and grandchildren proud of you for overcoming long odds, and be(ing) a human being “where there are no men.”

שבת שלום ומבורך מירושלים