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Rabbi Feingold's D'var Torah


Va'eira - 01/23/19

The Midrash is a genre of Jewish literature that often “fills in the blanks” of stories in the Torah.  In this week’s parasha, Moses and Aaron go before Pharaoh to bring God’s message to let the Hebrew slaves go free.  Imagine the audacity and intestinal fortitude of two Hebrews going to the royal court to ask that their people to be freed.  The Torah does share Moses’ reluctance, but once they enter the palace, Moses and Aaron seem undaunted and appear to be unmolested by Pharaoh’s guards (Ex 7:10 ff).  There is no narrative in Exodus that describes what it took to get an audience with the Pharaoh.  However, the midrash imagines a different scenario:  In Tanhuma Va’eira 5, we find the palace guards heckling and bullying Moses and Aaron as they dare to enter the palace, let alone ask that his entire slave labor force be liberated.  To borrow a phrase from contemporary politics: “Nevertheless, they persisted.”  And it is due to their persistence, 10 times (and 10 plagues) over, that liberation is ultimately achieved.

Sun, January 26 2020 29 Tevet 5780