Perashat Shemot


Perashat Shemot

It has been said that our generation lacks real leaders who can lead the Jewish people during our complicated times. Leading the Jewish people has never been an easy task. Only those with outstanding personal and leadership qualities have succeeded in leading the Jews to greatness which is our manifest destiny. The Archetype of quality Jewish leadership is Moshe Rabbienu.

In our Perasha we are introduced to Moshe Rabienu who led the Jews from the corrupt life of slavery to being the most just society ever. Imagine that the black slaves of the previous century who were completely uneducated and had no idea of justice having become a society as righteous as the Jewish people. Moshe led the Jews through such a transition. Let us examine the early righteousness of this man.

After growing up with a royal education in Pharoe’s palace Moshe left the palace grounds to see his Jewish brethren. He was armed with a natural feeling for true justice which applies to the meek as well as the great, to the Jew as well as the gentile. In our Perasha we see three stories of his righteousness.


He saw an Egyptian man beating a Hebrew man from his brethren. He looked around and saw that there was no man and he beat the Egyptian and buried him in the sand.

Moshe, upon seeing such an injustice decided to act and to kill the Egyptian. He had no other choice since there were no courts to protect the Jews. Additionally, even if there would have been adequate police protection the Egyptian would have killed the Jew immediately if Moshe did not act. It is permissible to kill a man who is trying to murder another man.

This story demonstrates that Moshe felt for his persecuted brethren. If we would only know this story we would figure that he only fought gentile oppression against Jews. The next two stories demonstrate his feeling for universal Justice.

He went out on the second day and saw two Hebrews fighting, he said to the wicked one ‘Why do you beat your friend. He said ‘Who put you to be governor and judge on us, will you kill me like you killed the Egyptian…

Here we see a fight between two Jews. Moshe acted on behalf of the innocent one. His feelings for justice were not just a love for the oppressed Jewish people. This demonstrates that he felt the Jews need justice among them.

Some believe that Jews should only worry about themselves and not aid gentiles when they have problems. Moshe felt that it was important to establish Justice wherever he went.

He resided in the land of Midian and was sitting next to the well. The Priest of Median had seven daughters and they came and filled their buckets to water their sheep. The shepherds came and expelled them, and Moshe rose and save the them and gave their sheep to drink.

While many would say, “let the gentiles fight it out themselves” Moshe felt that he must help those who are wrongly oppressed no matter who they are or where they are.