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Va’eira: Practical Torah Thoughts on Everyday Living

Written by Yehuda Katz

……..but they (Israelites) did not heed Moses, because of shortness of breath and hard work. (6:9)

The Torah enumerates 2 reasons why the Israelites were not capable of listening to Moses.Only G-d is privy to know exactly these 2 reasons,otherwise many assumptions can be made as to why. The Torah is very specific.As onlookers we might assume the worst about the enslaved Israelites, namely lack of faith or dullness of mind or whatever other negative possibilities.Yet the Torah not only gives us 1 reason ,but 2. Wouldn’t one reason be sufficient?

By the mere fact that the Torah gives us 2 reasons is very significant? I would like to propose, Bezrat Hashem, an original answer to this question,as follows: We have to realize that as human beings we lack certain pertinent facts when we perceive others in various circumstances. We think we might know the true reasons why peopleact as they do, and often we think the worst. By the Torah telling us the exact 2 reasons specifically about why the israelites could not hear what Moses was saying, the Torah is telling us that only G-d knows the reasons and these are what they are. Do not fool yourselves by believing that you might know it all because you don’t. This is why 2 reasons were given eventhou 1 might have been sufficient.

We can learn a tremendous lesson from this account. One of the positive commandments of the Torah is, “You shall judge your nation with righteousness” (Leviticus 19:15), this commandment teaches us to judge even an average person with the benefit of the doubt. If we see our friend in a questionable circumstance, we should actively assume the best in his favor not the worst because since we are only human and not G-d we are limited in scope. G-d only knows this persons reasons, but we certainly do not. Lets all be good advocates for our friends. This is true humility. Have a good Shabbos.


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