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Shemot - Weekly Thought - By Rabbi Shimon Raichik

Thursday, 7 January, 2010 - 4:41 pm

In this week's Parsha, Moshe and Aaron come to Pharaoh and tell him that Hashem said “send My People and let them bring sacrifices to Me in the desert.” Pharaoh refuses and says why do Moshe and Aaron disturb people from their work, go and do your own work!

As Rashi explains, Moshe and Aaron were from the tribe of Levi, and were not burdened by the labor of Mitzrayim, thus they were free to come and go. The Ramban explains further that there is a custom in every society to let wise people be spiritual advisors for the populace. This means that Pharaoh was saying to Moshe and Aaron – you have the freedom to sit and learn Torah and guide the Jews in their learning and their faith.

Don't get involved and tell me how to run my country!

The Zohar expresses that the “Chachmah” of Mitzrayim was the greatest in the world at that time, and Pharaoh was a very great Chacham.

According to nature, Jews could not free themselves from golus Mitzrayim – the Medrash adds that not even one slave could escape. The original decree was for 400 years, so why are Moshe and Aaron standing before Pharaoh at year 210? So Pharaoh's rebuttal was don't change the nature of G-d's world. Intellectually, this is logical. If Moshe and Aaron would be influenced by Pharaoh's logic, there would be no geulah. If, G-d forbid, the Jews would have been stuck in Mitzrayim even one moment longer, they would have descended to the fiftieth level of Tuma, and there would have been no redemption.

In essence Pharaoh's claim was that there are two worlds: the physical, business world and the world of Torah and prayer and those belong in the shul – leave them there! Torah has no right to guide the person in the outside world – that the job of the the scientists, the politicians etc.

That is Pharaoh's complaint. Even if Moshe, Aaron and the rest of Shevet Levi want to live their physical life by the Torah, what right have they to influence others?

What does this teach us?

Torah has a say in every aspect of life – not only when we are in shul.

Every one of us has the responsibility just as Moshe and Aaron did, to see that other Jews live their daily life under the guidance of the Aibishter. Because of Ahavas Yisroel, we have to see to it that not only we live that life, we have to influence other Jews that their lives should be given to Hashem and not to Pharaoh, the King of Egypt. We cannot push this off for the future, for G-d forbid, these people could be stuck in golus.

Based on Likutei Sichos, vol. 16

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