Moshe and the “Daughter of God”

Moshe and the “Daughter of God”

“Shemot” means names, and indeed in Parshat Shemot there appear many names. However, the most important name of all is missing. The central figure of the Parsha, as well as of that of the entire Torah, our greatest leader and prophet, is Moshe. However, Moshe is the Egyptian name given to him by the daughter of Pharaoh. Nowhere does the Torah tell us his original name, the name that surely his parents, Yocheved and Amram must have given him.

The choice of the given name, Moshe, is because the event that led to this name is the formative event in Moshe’s life. The act of compassion of Pharaoh’s daughter choosing to intervene in order to save Moshe is the backdrop for the various stories about Moshe that prelude God’s revelation to him. Just as we know only the given name of Moshe and not the one given to him by his biological parents, so too we know only the given name of Pharaoh’s daughter – Batya, “daughter of God.”