Friday, December 28, 2007

Parshas Shemos - "We Are Just Different...Face It!

NOT SUCH A QUICKIE/Funfact : In this week's Parsha is the birth of Moshe Rabbeinu. From a very young age Moshe was protected and cosseted. The first time when this is displayed is when he is discovered by Pharaoh's daughter, Batya.

After Moshe is placed in a basket made of reeds and into the water's of the Nile River, Miriam tracks the basket all the way to the Kings palace. Immediately after Batya picked up the child, Miriam jumped into the picture and alerted Batya that Yocheved, Moshe's true mother, was available to nurse the child through his infancy.

It is dictated in the Shulchan Aruch, that Jewish babies may not be nursed by Gentile woman. The reason is, because their milk is bad for the "Heart and the Soul" of a Jew. The Vilna Gaon commenting on this Law mentions that the source of this is from Moshe Rabbeinu!

We can appropriately assume that Miriam took extra precautions because she understood the capabilities which were infused in Moshe, but not everyone is Moshe?!

Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky Tz"l answers that while educating children, it is of utmost importance to treat every child, like they are Moshe Rabbeinu. The potential of every Jewish child is great and it is our responsibility to guard them.

1:8 "Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who knew not Joseph."

The Medrish Rabba on this pasuk explains the reasoning for why the servitude of the "Jewish" people in Mitzraiyim officially started:

[As a mission to become accepted as part of Egyptian culture Klal Yisrael abstained from performing Bris Milah. They claimed, "If Mitzraiyim doesn't do it, then why should we". Once they stopped doing the Milah, the servitude started.]

A question arises however. Logically it does not make sense that the servitude started because of our assimilation. Wouldn't the Egyptian people feel empowered and flattered by our wanting to be more secular and like them?

Rav Shmuel Wagner Shlit"a of Yeshivas Ohr Yerushalayim answers, when Hashem chose Klal Yisrael to be his nation he dictated that there would always be a separation between the nations of the world and Am Yisrael. If we refuse to come to that realization ourselves then Hashem will intervene and bring it to our realization.

The Kuzari speaks of 4 categories of being:

Domem- Rocks

Tzemach- Plants

Chaim- Animals

Midaber- Mankind

Yehudi- the Jewish people

For this reason Hakodosh Baruch Hu put us in servitude. It was needed, to show us that we were different from the other nations of the world.

Check out the numbers: Jews ranked...
* Number 1 in providing medical advancements that saved American's lives in the last 100 years.
* Number 1 in authorship of both biographical and fictional materials.
* Number 1 in per capita income.
* Number 1 in the creative arts
* Number 1 as educators, (grade school through college level)
* Number 1 in the legal profession
* Number 1 in the banking/investment banking business.
* Number 1 in providing the most charity/philanthropy per capita.
* Number 1 in journalist/media participation.
* Number 9 in military service. (They made the top ten, out of 20 ranked ethnic groups)* Number 10 in athletics. The Jews squeaked into the last top spot with their participation in ice skating, tennis, track and baseball.
* Number 1 in the lowest incidents of anti-social behavior.
Jews commit the least amount of violent crime of any ethnic group. (The best neighbor to have is a Jew)
America has always honored Jews and that is why Jewish representation in Congress is at an all-time high and vastly exceeds their numbers in the population.

Hashem has different ways of showing us that we are different. But Boy o Boy are we ever!


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