Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Parshah Va'eira (Exodus 6:2-9:35)

“Behold the children of Israel have not listened to me; how then shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips?” (Shemot 6:12). Sefat Emet explains that there is a direct connection between the prophet’s ability to prophesize and the people’s capacity to listen. The reason why Moshe was of uncircumcised lips was because Israel could not listen to him. It was this inability of the Jewish people to listen, which prevented them from receiving the Ten Commandments directly from G-d. Speech is in exile as long as the receivers are not prepared to listen to the Divine word. The Midrash explains that Israel could not listen to Moshe, because it was difficult for them to separate themselves from idol worship (Shemot Rabbah 6:5). The term for idol worship in Hebrew is avodah zarah, which literally means strange work. Therefore, any kind of compulsion for “strange work” other than Hashem’s mitzvot can block our ability to hear the voice of G-d.

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