Friday, January 4, 2008

Parshas Va'eira - "It is all in how you say it"

I would formally like to thank my dear friend Tzvi Simpson for hosting me this Shabbos. He is a great friend and an Ish Emes.

Also my apologies on getting this post out a little close to Shabbos. I will try to the best of my ability to be a little bit more punctual when it comes to posting Divrei Torah . The following is something that I heard from Rav Greenwald Shlit"a.

QUICKIE/FUNFACT: What was the big deal about Moshe Rabbeinu being Aral Sifasayim? People have speech impediments and they overcome them! Why was Moshe so concerned?

Rav Yonasan Eibushnitz answers that the leaders of every generation reflect the generation in which they lead. If a leader is seen to be subpar, then followers are surely destined for failure. On the other side of the coin however, if a leader is presentable and a sociable orator then he sheds a light over his pulpit that people from the outside can surely see and revere.

Staying within this theme of Moshe having some sort of a speech impediment, how is this possible? If one were to take a very simple look at the Torah they would see that the 2 words, "Vayidaber Moshe", show up quite a bit! From a birds eye view it seemingly makes very little sense to say that Moshe Rabbeinu had an inability to speak and express himself clearly.

The Rashbam (grandson of Rashi), a Biblical commentator and Talmudist says that it was not that Moshe Rabbeinu had an inability to orate, but it was simply that he was uncomfortable presenting himself in the language of Egyptian. Although Moshe was indigenous to the land, he had left the country too early to truly acquire a true grasp of the language.

Surely, however, the Rashbam's commentary on these words cannot stand ground. Fore although Moshe may not have acquired a grasp of the language, this should in no way prevent him from presenting himself publicly in front of Pharoah.

Also curious about the verbiage, "Aral Sifasayim" the Maharal offers his own pshat: When man was created Hashem "implanted" inside of him/her a Ruach Chayim, flesh and bones. Like we see in our daily lives, our physical and spiritual sides conflict with one another and cause an inner strife. This interaction between our spiritual and physical selves can be seen in no better way than through our 5 senses. Touch, is entirely physical. Seeing/thinking is entirely spiritual. Speech however is a mixture between the two. When one speaks, the interaction between the trachea, teeth and vocal chords is entirely physical nevertheless the sound that resonates and that leaves the mouth is entirely, "Ruchani". Therefore, when the Torah says that Moshe was Aral Sifasayim, this is not suggesting that Moshe Rabbeinu was lacking in anyway, Chas Vishalom! The Torah is telling us that Moshe was entirely spiritual!

Moshe was so spiritual that almost automatically if there was an argument between his inner selves, the spiritual side would win! His vocal chords simply did not work because Moshe was not as physical as the rest of us.

The Ran however takes the words, Aral Sifasayim in a totally different direction. He suggests that Moshe Rabbeinu, was specifically chosen to be the conduit to bring the Torah to Klal Yisroel. People cannot relate to a flawless leader. Moshe's speech issues were in essence to comforting them. It let Klal Yisroel know that Moshe also was human. Only after coming to this realization could they all sing in unison, "Moshe Emes ViToraso Emes".

Regardless of how it may be seen at first glance. The words, "Aral Sifasayim" no longer suggest that Moshe lacked in his leadership abilities but conversely suggest that he had all that it took to be the true leader of Klal Yisroel.


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