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What Does It Mean To Be Chosen?
Video 6 of 8
Vaachar bau Moshe v’Aharon vayomru el-paroh and they said ko amar Hashem. Now the first thing to notice about this speech is how different it is in terms of the name of God that’s used with reference to the next page. Thus says God, God is directly addressing you in first speech. Look at the second speech. Elohei haivrim - the power of the Hebrews. Remember this word, a very generic word. Over here, this is God’s actual name. Which name? The Creator God name. The first thing he is saying, thus says the Creator God. Then who is this Creator God? He is elohei yisrael - He is the power of the Jewish people. And yisrael, of course, is that special name for the Jewish people; that covenantal relationship that they get God through God changing Yaakov’s name. This is not some pagan god who could care less about people; this is a God who takes a personal interest and even have a special relationship with them and considers them His people, shalach et-ami, these are my people.
So, here is the Creator God who has a special relationship with His people Israel and He is addressing himself directly to Egypt with expectations. He is in charge of everything. He is even in charge of you and He is directing himself to you. Send out these Jews. And what does God want them to do? Yachogu li bamidbar, let them celebrate with me in the desert.
Now, none of this of course,makes any sense to Pharaoh; I mean, it’s all completely new to him. So vayomer paroh mi Hashem asher eshma bekolo, who is this Creator God that you are talking about? This yud key vav key God outside of time that I should listen to his voice? He speaks to people. A God that actually communicates his will directly to mankind. This is all theologically nonsense. Lo yadaati et Hashem, I don’t know anybody by that name of yud key vav key. The Midrash says he looks through his list of polytheistic gods and say “nope! Nothing here like that!” And anyway, I am not sending out the Jews.” Now, at this point, Moshe retreats with an entirely different strategy. Second speech.
Vayomru, Moshe and Aaron said “ Okay. Elohei haivrim nikra aleinu - let me put this in terms you can understand. Let’s leave out this yud key vav key stuff, let’s just say the ‘power of the Hebrews’ nikra aleinu, happened upon us. He didn’t really speak to us. Nelcha na derech shloshet yamim, we really want to go for three days. Notice “we want to go”, God did not command us or you directly. We’re trying to figure out what God says. Vanizbecha laHashem elokeinu, we think we should sacrifice before God. No, none of this joy stuff, forget joy . We should sacrifice before our God because if we don’t pen-yifgaenu badever o bechrev, he might strike us down with a sword or with pestilence. So please help us.”
Now, this is actually something that Pharaoh can understand. So now if you look at Pharaoh’s response, it’s very different than his response to the first one. Lamah moshe v’aharon tafriu et-haam, why are you disturbing the people, lechu lesivloteichem, they’ve got a lot of work to do. Hen-rabim atah am haaretz vehishbatem otam misivlotam, you’re keeping the slaves away from doing their work.” Now notice, there is no theological objection whatsoever. Pharaoh perfectly understands this sort of theological world, it’s very pagan, it makes perfect sense to him. It’s just that the argument that you’re making is that “ the people are worried that their God might get mad at them and hurt them. Well, that mean that they must not be sufficiently worried that I am going to hurt them. I have to make life a little bit harder for them . Forget about this allegiance to their pagan god and stop worrying about him, they should worry about me more.” It’s a whole different response. Why is Moshe doing this? Why the two approaches? I think it sets the tone for what’s about to happen.
Moshe and God owed it to Par’oh to just tell him the truth. There is a Creator God, this is the nature of his relationship, this relationship of joy,has direct relationship with all, he has expectations for you. Even if Pharaoh is not going to get it right now, but this is the truth. Now, Pharaoh rejects it; it’s too new to him. At that point, the process begins. It’s a process of education. Let’s start with something you do understand and we’ll work our way up from there.
We asked earlier “ why does Moshe talks about these three days? Didn’t God have the power to take them out immediately?” This wasn’t a lie - “let us go out for three days.” If Pharaoh would have said “yes”, they would have come back after the three days. It’s like okay. That was step 1. You’ve granted them the religious freedom to worship their polytheistic god. Now let’s tell you something more; let’s teach you something more about this God; little bit different from the polytheistic god. And then slowly, Pharaoh could have learned. It’s a process of education and it begins now.
Pharaoh can either learn the nice way - by agreeing to let them go for three days and then to learn more and more about that kind of God; or he can learn the harsh way - and the harsh way is the plagues. Pharaoh rejects this, education has to take harsh path instead. And when we come back we’re going to see how the process of education to bring home to Pharaoh the truth of God being Creator, plays out in the Ten Plagues.
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