Pearls of Rashi – Shemos

This week’s Torah portion, Shemos, is the beginning of the second book of the Torah. It begins by telling us of the slavery our forefathers bore in the land of Egypt, and the birth of Moshe, who would ultimately redeem us from our Egyptian exile.

Through a series of miracles, Moshe was brought up in Paroh’s palace. When he was older, he went out to see what was going on with his fellow Jews. The Torah tells us that[1] “He went out on the second day, and behold, two Jews were fighting. Moshe said to the wicked one, ‘Why will you strike your friend?’ “

The Torah says that the one was wicked. Why was he considered wicked? Because he will (in the future tense) strike his friend. Why should he be considered wicked now, if he did not yet strike anyone? All that he did was raise his hand!

Rashi cites the words from the verse “why will you strike,” and answers this question. He writes that “Although he had not struck him, he is called wicked for raising his hand (to strike him).”

However, we need to understand this. Rashi does not explain why one is considered evil for merely raising his hand to strike his fellow. He is only telling us that this is the case.

This can be explained as follows. Each of us was created[2] “in order to serve our Creator.” From this it is understood that each limb, each organ of the body was created with a specific goal toward this purpose.

For example, one’s hand was created in order to give to another, i.e.[3] “a hand which distributes Tzedokoh.” However, if one does not use his hand to benefit his fellow; to the contrary, he uses it to strike his fellow, he is sinning. He is misappropriating his hand, misusing it.

In other words, the very act of lifting his hand, despite the fact that he did not (yet) hit anyone, contradicts the very purpose for which the hand was created. Therefore, the sin against Hashem begins with the act of lifting his hand.

Let us all make sure to learn from this week’s Parshah. We must use every fiber of our being to provide goodness and kindness to all of those with whom we come into contact. Then we will be sure to bring Moshiach now!

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 31, Page 5

Mrs. Brocha bas Reb Tzvi Nechemiah Hacohen O.B.M. Cohen
Passed away on 8 Shevat, 5778
May Her Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
מרת ברכה בת ר’ צבי נחמי’ הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטרה ביום ח ‘שבט, ה’תשע”ח
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
יוצא לאור ע”י בני משפחתה שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 2:13.

[2]. See the Mishnah and Beraysoh at the end of Tractate Kiddushin.

[3]. See Tanya Chapter 23.

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