15 Jan Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Parashat Va’eira 5775
This Shabbat we read from Parashat Va’eira which includes the first seven plagues that God brought upon the Egyptians. However, before the plagues begin the texts interrupts the narrative for a brief genealogy focusing on Moshe and Aaron’s ancestry dating back to Levi himself. While many commentaries focus on this section as a transition or perhaps a reminder to the reader that Moshe is indeed of Israelite descent, there is an argument to be made that the genealogy was really done for Moshe’s benifit, despite the fact that it wasn’t actually recited to him. Even so, Moshe is about to enter into the biggest confrontation of his life and he needed to be entirely confident in his words and actions. To be sure, God’s instructions gave him confidence but it certainly wouldn’t hurt for Moshe to receive on more pep talk before taking on Pharaoh. Words of encouragement, including ones that remind us of our heritage, are useful to all of us from time to time, and hopefully these words helped Moshe in his difficult moments.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik