Parashas and Haftaras Vaeira

On the Parashah
In this week’s parashah, the Torah records the lineage of Moshe and Aharon, and then concludes (Shemos 6:26-27): “These are the Aharon and Moshe to whom Hashem said, ‘Take the Children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, with all their legions.’ They are the ones who spoke to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, to take the Children of Israel out of the Egypt; they are the Aharon and Moshe.” In this passage, the Torah first mentions Aharon before Moshe, and afterward mentions Moshe before Aharon. The Sages infer that Moshe and Aharon were equal in stature (Tosefta Kerisus 4:15). On the surface, the proof does not seem conclusive. The Maggid provides a deeper perspective through which we can understand the proof very well.
In the piece on last week’s parashah, we noted that the mission Moshe and Aharon were sent on involved two elements: (a) to go to Pharaoh and contend with him on the Jewish People’s behalf, and (b) to deploy their merit to bring about the Jewish People’s redemption. In regard to deploying merit, we might have thought that Moshe, whom the Torah later describes as “the man of God” (Devarim 33:1), had a superior position. Therefore, in discussing the taking of the Jewish People out of Egypt, in the first part of the passage, the Torah mentions Aharon before Moshe. Conversely, regarding the task of speaking to Pharaoh, we might have thought that Aharon had a superior position, since Hashem had told Moshe – in response to his concern about his speech impediment – that Aharon would be the spokesman. Therefore, in discussing the dialogue with Pharaoh, in the second part of the passage, the Torah mentions Moshe first. Taking both parts of the passage together, we conclude that Moshe and Aharon were on the same level both in regard to speaking with Pharaoh and in regard to deploying merit for the benefit of the Jewish People.
On the Haftarah
In this week’s haftarah, it is written (Yechezkel 29:3): “Thus said the Lord God, Hashem: ‘Behold, I am above you, O Pharaoh, king of Egypt – the great serpent that crouches within its rivers – who has said, “My Nile is mine, and I built myself.”’” The Maggid explains this verse with a parable. A visitor entered a wealthy man’s house, and saw one of the servants. He asked him: “Who is the master of the house?” The servant replied haughtily: “I am the master of the house, and everything you see here is mine.” Just as the servant was finishing his sentence, the true master of the house entered the room and said: “I am your master. I am above you, and you are subservient to me.” Similarly, the wicked Pharaoh, in his arrogance, presented himself as a deity and proclaimed himself the supreme power. Hashem then came on the scene and said: “Behold, I am above you, O Pharaoh” – I am the Master of the Universe, and I have dominion over you.” And so Yechezkel’s prophecy, after describing Pharaoh’s downfall, continues (Yechezkel 29:6): “Then all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am Hashem” – initially the Egyptians were deluded into regarding Pharaoh as a deity, but in the end they will recognize Hashem as the sole God and Master of the Universe.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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