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My little Tzaddikel!

Written by Yaakov Hibbert

In this weeks Sedra, Moshe is found in a basket by Basya. Miriam who is standing nearby asks Basya if she should go and get a Jewish wet nurse for the baby. Rashi[1] brings down the Medresh, that first Basya attempted to feed Moshe from Egyptian wet nurses, but Moshe refused their milk. Moshe’s refusal was due to the fact that he was destined to speak with Hashem, and it was not befitting that the mouth that was going to speak “mouth to mouth” with Hashem should be nursed from a non Jew. The Shulchan Aruch

[2] brings down the Halachah that even though it is not forbidden for a Jewish baby to be nursed by a non-Jew it is better to refrain from doing so. The Vilna Goan[3] sources this Halachah with the aforementioned Rashi in this weeks Sedra.

Asks[4] R’ Yaakov Kamenetsky ZaTZaL, how can this be the source of the Halachah? Surely the reason that applied to Moshe does not apply to every one of us; we aren’t going to be speaking to Hashem as directly as Moshe did? R’ Yaakov answers, that herein lies a fundamental lesson in chinuch. Every parent has to know that his child has HUGE potential for greatness; he has the potential to be a Moshe Rabeinu, nothing less! Therefore every Jewish child should not feed from a non Jew because he has the same potential that Moshe had. We have to educate every child with the knowledge that he can become something great. Even if he might not end up speaking to Hashem direct, but if he fulfils his potential then he has achieved greatness akin to that of Moshe[5]. It’s not how you measure up against everyone around you; it’s what you do in relation to YOUR unique potential. R’ Netanel Dadoun added that we see this very point in a different Rashi[6] which describes how the crib that Moshe was put in was made of tar and clay – tar from the outside and clay from the inside. This is unlike the ark of Noach which was tarred both inside and outside. Why? “In order that, that Tzaddik, would not smell the foul odour of tar”. Already at his birth, Moshe’s parents dealt with him as their tzaddikel!

Reb Tzvi Kushelevsky Shlita used this same idea to answer a seemingly strange Medresh about Shmuel Hanavi. We are told[7] that when Shaul brought up the spirit of Shmuel he was wearing a cloak. What was so special about this cloak? Explains the Medresh that this cloak was the same cloak that his mother had made for him when he was a baby[8], the cloak actually grew with him his whole life and when he died he was buried in this same cloak.

The Meforshim[9] explain that this cloak that his mother made for him, was a replica of the type of coat that the dignified people used to wear. It was a mini Rosh Yeshiva ‘frack’! Why did a little kid need to wear a mini ‘frack’? Said Reb Tzvi, Channah realized that her son had potential to be a Gadol Hador in his unique way, so already when he was very young she treated him as if he was going to be the next Moshe Rabeinu, so he had to wear the clothes that befitted such a prestigious position. This coat grew with him his whole life because as he grew in stature so to did his ambition. His aspirations knew no bounds. The sky was the limit. He internalized the lesson his mother taught him.

We have seen that every baby that is born can’t have non Jewish milk because he has the potential to speak to Hashem like Moshe, and every baby should be dressed like a Gadol Hador!

Reb Chaim Kaufman ZaTZaL used to say if you have such great aspirations, you won’t fall that much short. When one shoots an arrow towards a target, you have to aim slightly above the bulls’ eye in order to hit it! Similarly Reb Sholom Schwadron ZaTZaL would say, “if your have big goals then you will score more!”

[1] Shemos 2:7 [2] Yoreh Deah 81:7 [3] In the name of the Rashba [4] Emes LeYaakov Shemos 2:7 [5] R’ Elchonon Wasserman ZaTZaL – end of kovetz ha’aros 7:9, Kovetz Ma’amorim chelek aleph page 56, chelek beis page 282. [6] Shemos 2:3 [7] Medresh Tanchuma Parshas Emor 2 [8] Shmuel Aleph 2:18 שמואל א ב:יח [9] Radak and Malbim 2:19, Mezudos Dovid 28:14

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