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At the end of last week’s reading, we read in Shemot / Exodus 6:1 וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה עַתָּ֣ה תִרְאֶ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֶֽעֱשֶׂ֖ה לְפַרְעֹ֑ה כִּ֣י בְיָ֤ד חֲזָקָה֙ יְשַׁלְּחֵ֔ם וּבְיָ֣ד חֲזָקָ֔ה יְגָרְשֵׁ֖ם מֵאַרְצֽוֹ׃ (ס) Then the LORD said to Moses, “You shall soon (now you will, עַתָּ֣ה תִרְאֶ֔ה) see what I will do to Pharaoh: he shall let them go because of a greater might; indeed, because of a greater might he shall drive them from his land.” The rabbis connect this to the Akeda (the binding of Isaac) when Abraham was called to sacrifice his only son to the Lord on the mountain of Moriah. (see Rashi on Shemot / Exodus 6:1, Part 1, and Bereshit / Genesis 22) What we see here in the Torah portion for this week, is the rabbis connecting the words of the Lord to the Akeda, the Lord was saying to Moshe that when He subjected Abraham to a test of his faith, he did not question His commands as it is related to faithfulness as opposed to Moshe questioning the Lord sending him to Egypt to deliver Israel from bondage. The Lord was extending His authority to Moshe to deliver His people from bondage. Moshe however questioned that authority. Sforno speaks of Pharaoh and the Lord God delivering His people in the following way: Sforno on Shemot / Exodus 6:1 Part 1, . עַתָּ֣ה תִרְאֶ֔ה, now that you have seen yourself the sin of Pharaoh who has the nerve to hold on to the Israelites with the authority of his office, you will see that he will not only release them voluntarily, but בְיָ֤ד חֲזָקָה֙ יְשַׁלְּחֵ֔ם, not only will he release them, but he will be forced to get rid of them post haste due to the problems he will have while they are still in his country. The Hebrew text states with a powerful hand (בְיָ֤ד חֲזָקָה֙) he will be forced to send them (יְשַׁלְּחֵ֔ם) out of his country. This is the way the text speaks of the Lord working powerfully on behalf of His people. Sforno speaks of the difficulties Pharaoh will have due to his not submitting to the will of God, and remaining in his abstinence against the command of the Lord. It is interesting that if Pharaoh had obeyed the command of God all of Egypt would have been spared…

 

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