HAVE GONE FROM BAD TO WORSE. As
intense as the slavery had been, now the Children of Israel must produce their
quota of bricks without being provided with the straw they need.
Although at first they believed that the redemption was imminent, now
they have lost hope. Moshe repeats Hashems
promises to save them, but
they did not hearken to Moshe out of impatience and out of hard
bondage (Shemot 6:9).
WHEN HASHEM insists that Moshe
return to speak to Pharaoh, Moshes reaction is understandably full of
the children of Israel [who have a vested interest in listening] have not
hearkened to me; how then shall Pharaoh [who has a vested interest in not listening]
listen to me, I who am of uncircumcised lips?! (v.12).
HASHEM RENEWS THE COMMAND to appear
before Pharaoh (v.13). Suddenly, and quite abruptly, the narrative is
interrupted, in order to provide us with a genealogy of the tribes of Reuven,
Shimon and Levi; the life-span of
Levi, his son Kehat and his grandson Amram; and the family of Amram and
Yocheved, including Aharon and
Moshe, ending with Aharons grandson Pinchas (vs.14-25).
Then, before resuming the narrative, we are reminded:
to whom Hashem had said: Bring out the Children of Israel from the land of
Egypt according to their hosts. These
are they who spoke to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, to bring out the Children of
Israel from Egypt, these are Moshe and Aharon (vs.
Now that we have returned
to the narrative, the Torah reiterates the last part of the story before the
interruption (vs. 28-30). Thereupon
the Torah continues:
Hashem said to moshe: See I have made you as a god to Pharaoh, and Aharon
your brother shall be your prophet. You
shall speak all that I command you, and Aharon your brother shall speak to
Pharaoh, that he send the Children of Israel out of his land (7:1-2).
NUMBER OF PROBLEMS PRESENT THEMSELVES in
this passage, but first among them is to explain the unexpected excursus on
the tribes genealogy. In
dealing with this issue, however, Rashis
explanation (6:14) is puzzling:
[the Torah] needed to trace the lineage of the tribe of Levi until Moshe and
Aharon, because of Moshe and Aharon, it began to trace them via their
descendants from Reuven.
COMMENTARIES elaborate that the Torah wants to show Levis special qualities
of loyalty to Hashem and Torah in contrast to the two other, older, tribes.)
But this begs the questions: Why
does the text need to list the lineage of Moshe and Aharon?
And, why now, in the midst of charging Moshe and Aharon with their
RASHI ADDRESSES THIS IN HIS COMMENTARY on verse 6:13:
Since Moshe said I who am of uncircumcised lips, the Holy One, Blessed be He joined Aharon to him to be his spokesman and interpreter.
THIS FURTHER COMPLICATES MATTERS:
Have not the brothers been together ever since the first revelation to
Moshe (4:14-16), with Moshe saying what he heard from Hashem and Aharon
repeating it as a prophet?
COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO THIS PASSAGE is to be found in the Malbim (R. Meir
Leib ben Yechiel Michael, 1809-1877). He
notes carefully the changes that occurred in the mission to free the Children
of Israel. Originally, Moshe was
to discharge the mission alone: the
voice of Hashem would emanate directly
from Moshes throat (4:12). Once Aharon was enlisted as Moshes spokesman,
such that the word of Hashem was heard indirectly,
the effect of the prophecy was diminished.
However, this was true only insofar as the mission to speak to the
Children of Israel was concerned. Thus,
Moshe and Aharon spoke to the Children of Israel, And Aharon spoke all the words which Hashem had spoken to Moshe (4:30). To their credit, the people believed that Hashem would save them, even though they heard so only through the intermediary Aharon (v.31).
AFTERWARDS, WHEN THE OPPRESSION was intensified, even the children of israel refused to listen (6:9).
THE MISSION TO SPEAK TO PHARAOH, on the other hand, had not changed: alone, without Aharons mediation, Moshe was to speak in Hashems name:
BUT, MOSHE THOUGHT THAT IT WAS HIS OWN POWER of speech that was inadequate to convince the Children of Israel, all the more so Pharaoh (v.12). In response, Hashem makes both Moshe and Aharon responsible for both missions:
Hashem spoke to Moshe and Aharon and commanded them concerning the Children
of Israel and concerning Pharaoh king of Egypt to bring the Children
of Israel out of Egypt
IS WHAT RASHI MEANT when he said that Hashem joined Aharon to him to be
his spokesman and interpreter. From this moment, the true process of
Israels redemption through the brothers collaboration begins.
Therefore, only now must we become fully acquainted with the ancestry of Moshe and
Aharon, who are uniquely qualified for this mission. Furthermore, after
concluding their lineage, the Torah reminds us that Moshe and Aharon were
sent as Hashems emissaries to Pharaoh (6:26-27).
ALTHOUGH MOSHE RECEIVES THE WORD directly from Hashem and Aharon repeats it, both to the people and to Pharaoh, there is a difference in specialization: Aharon is dominant in relating to the people, explaining the physical and spiritual process of redemption, while Moshe is dominant in relating to Pharaoh, presenting the signs and wonders which will demonstrate Hashems control of the world and liberate Israel.
MOSHE REPRESENTS THE ABSOLUTE, the principles of justice and sanctity. Aharon is the man of implementation. Both will now work together each ones aspect complementing the other, to bring the promised redemption to fruition.