Shemot is another Torah portion where a lot happens in the span of just a few chapters and verses. It is one of the darkest times for the ancient Hebrews a new Pharaoh is in power, unlike his predecessor he does not have a Joseph to befriend and rely on. He is a Pharaoh who is unabashedly loyal to Egypt and Egyptians. Times were a lot different than now and so was the economy and for the perceived other lower menial jobs channeled through slavery is the preferred form of domination.
The Hebrew numbers are vastly multiplying and since dominance is about resource management fear of the other burns brighter and hotter in the hearts and minds of the Egyptians. Enter baby Moses, nothing special about him and the other newly born Hebrew boys except his mother has that rare perfect balance between fear and cunning. Knowing it is only a matter of time before Moses’s short life is made even shorter she places him in a basket and sets him afloat in the same river Pharaoh’s Daughter likes to bathe and relax in; and the stage is set the Hebrew G~d gives the royal family a beautiful baby boy via the sacred Nile River.
Nursed by his own Hebrew mother and loved and courted throughout his adoptive Grandfather’s kingdom Moses truly is the gift from the Hebrew G~d. In fact Moses is Egyptian for “because I drew him out of the water” and he keeps this name for the rest of his life. Like all of us Moses has a weakness, a character flaw, unlike the Patriarch’s flaws he is easily moved to a violent anger. After killing an Egyptian to protect Hebrew slaves he flees to the wilderness finds a wife and is content to settle down and live a quiet full life. Hashem allows this time to run its course before confronting Moses with a charge to return the Hebrews to the Promised Land. Hashem adjusts the spark within Moses allowing him to approach the Egyptians in a way their magicians will understand and respect if not fear.
Returning to the grand halls of his youth this quiet soft spoken man mutters “Pharaoh, let my people go,” and Pharaoh says “no.” Immediately following this discourse Pharaoh strengthens his people’s dominance over our people, what was hard before is now unbearable. The age of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs is unabashedly over and Hashem ushers in the Age of the Prophets with Moses and Aaron.
What symbolism does Moses in a Basket floating in another faiths holy land mean to you? Why do you think Hashem gives Moses the ability to perform miracles in a way the Egyptian magicians will be in awe of? Should Moses have a Hebrew name? Share your thoughts comment below or send me a message [email protected] Twitter: @circlepitbimah