Vol 16.02 - Shmot 2                                                          Spanish French Audio  Video

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Two things that were accomplished by placing Moshe at the edge of the river - 1) The nullification of the idolatry of the Nile (Tzafnat Paneach on Torah 2:3) 2)The nullification of the the decree ""Every boy who is born must be thrown into the river" (Ex. Rab. 1:21) (5738)


 1. On the verse (Ex. 2:3)

“She (Yocheved) placed (the basket) into the marsh at the Nile's edge”.

The Targum states:

“At the edge of the river”.

From this it is understood, that Yocheved placed the “reed basket” that had Moshe in it (not directly in the river itself, but rather) on the dry bank next to the river.

However, from the continuation of the story in Scripture, it implies that the basket was found, not at the “edge of the river”, but rather in the marsh (סוף) which is in the river. Moreover, as the verse states further, 

“She named him Moshe . . For I drew him from the water."

The Rogochover Gaon states that since “they worshipped the Nile”, Yocheved could not save Moshe through placing the basket in the river, 

(in accordance with the law that one may not utilize an idol, even to save a life).


                “She (Yocheved) placed (the basket) into the marsh at the Nile's edge”.

 However, after, 

“Pharaoh's daughter went down to bathe, to the Nile”,

which means that “she went down to cleanse from the idolatries of her father” (מגלולי אבי׳),

she consequently nullified the idol status of the Nile and “the basket again went into the river”.

2. The Midrash states that:

“Why did they throw him into the river? In order so that the astrologers would think that he was already thrown into the water, and therefore they would not search for him”.

The decree,

"Every son who is born you shall cast into the river” 

came about through that which the astrologers saw that the “savior of Yisroel would be judged through water”. Therefore, Yocheved “threw” Moshe into the river. For, “since Moshe was thrown into the water, they said, their savior has already been thrown into the water, 

(and they would not further search for him). 

Subsequently, the decree was immediately nullified – 

Thus, through this, the decree of “Every son who is born you shall cast into the river” was immediately nullified.

All aspects of Torah are with the epitome of preciseness.

Therefore, it is understood that the two aspects of nullification which were accomplished with regard to “throwing” Moshe into the river:

  1. The nullification of the idol of the Nile.
  2. The nullification of the decree of, “Every son who is born you shall cast etc.”

have a connection between them.

3. One can understand this by explaining the inner essence in the decree, “Every son who is born you shall cast into the river”.

From that which the Torah tells, not just regarding the general decree of Pharaoh – 

“if it is a son, you shall put him to death”,

but also regarding the manner of how the decree was carried out, “cast him into the river” – it is understood that this is:

(Not merely a detail regarding Pharaoh’s decree. Or (even more than this) a detail that explains the reason. Namely, that through that which 

they saw that the savior of Yisroel would be judged through water”

that Pharaoh therefore decreed, 

“Every son who is born you shall cast into the river”. 

For, in the end, what is the ramification of knowing this detail (which only then, one first asks, what is the reason?) – However, this is)

A critical aspect of the Galut of Egypt.

So much so, that the general essence of Galut of Egypt is revealed in this detail.

The explanation of this is:

The purpose and intent of Pharaoh’s decree is expressed (באשטאנען) in the words, “cast him into the river” – into the Nile, the idol of Egypt. 

In other words, Pharaoh wanted the Yisroel to be “thrown into” and “drowned” (״אריינגעווארפן״ און ״דערטרונקען״) in the idol of Egypt.

4. The reason that the Egyptians worshipped the Nile is, plainly, since the river was (by nature) the source of their livelihood.

As is known, Egypt is a land which has no rain, and the growth of the produce etc.is connected with the Nile’s “rising” and “irrigating” the fields.

Therefore, this gives room to ultimately convince and influence oneself that the livelihood and vitality of Egypt comes, G-d forbid, not from the Al-mighty.

(For, when one must depend upon rain, then “all turn their eyes heavenward”. One feels that this is dependent upon G-d.

Whereas, when the Nile “rises and waters” the land, one does not recognize the dependence upon G-d).

Rather, that it is dependent upon (the nature of) the Nile. Therefore, this became the idol of Egypt.

This was the purpose of Pharaoh’s decree, “cast him into the river” – that also the Yidden should, G-d forbid, subordinate themselves to this (אונטערווארפן) – to the bounds of nature, and its dictates.

5. In order for the decree of “cast him into the river” to have a control over the Yidden, it must be through their, beforehand, having a “descent” (ירידה) into Egypt. 

As long as they were in Eretz Yisroel, 

“A land that . . the eyes of the L-rd, your G-d, are always upon it”– 

one visibly saw how G-d oversees each and every detail.

(This is expressed in that which, Eretz Yisroel, always was a land that “by the rain of the skies will you drink water”. Especially as the Sages state that “G-d Himself waters it”).

Therefore, there is no place to err that,

“My strength and the power of my hand have acquired this wealth for me”. 

One ploughed and sowed and (געאקערט און געזייט) and that was sufficient – for one easily saw that 

“it is He that gives you strength to make wealth”.


The entire time that Yaakov and his sons lived, even in Egypt, Pharaoh’s decree was not applicable. For since, while in Eretz Yisroel, they visibly saw that it is dependent upon G-d. Consequently, even when they came to a place where only the dictates of nature are visible. Nevertheless, this did not cause them to forget, obscure or conceal – their previous seeing of G-dliness (ראי׳ אין אלקות). This effected within them that, even in Egypt, they should have the knowledge (at least, in a manner of understanding and comprehension) that nature is conducted by G-d.

(This is similar to the aspect of a miracle – that has the same wording as uplifting (הרמה) – that the miracle “lifts up” the (knowledge in) nature. It gives a recognition that even nature is conducted by G-d).

However, after 

“Yosef died, as well as all his brothers and all that generation”, 

there did not remain of those who were in Eretz Yisroel. Therefore, there was a complete “descent” into Egypt and the conduct of nature. This allowed for the decree of “cast him into the river”.

6. The aspect of Moshe is – the savior of Yisroel. For he is the Faithful Shepherd (רעיא מהימנא) who draws down faith into Yidden, so that it influences actual deed (מעשה בפועל). That even where there was no seeing of G-dliness, nor even any understanding and comprehension - Moshe accomplished that faith in G-d, should illuminate within Yidden. With this, they withstood (קעגנגעשטעלט) Pharaoh’s decree.

Although they also possessed the power of faith before this, for Yidden are, by nature, “believers the children of believers”. However, plain faith (in a transcendent manner) is not sufficient for the faith to have an effect on the life and conduct of a person. There must be “the nourishing of faith” (ורעה אמונה), drawing down the faith into Pnimiyut. 

This was accomplished through Moshe, the Faithful Shepherd (רעיא מהימנא).

7. With this one can understand why the verse precisely states, 

“Moshe tended the sheep of his father-in-law Yitro, priest of Midian”.

For seemingly:

It is well and understood why the Torah tells us that Moshe was a shepherd of flocks. For, as is known, this was a preparation (and test (אויספרואוו)) of Moshe Rabbeinu as a shepherd of Yisroel. However, why must it emphasize that he was a shepherd of Yitro’s flocks, and that this was when Yitro was specifically a priest of Midian.

However, the inner reason of this is:

Yitro’s flocks” possessed ”forces of holiness” (חיילי׳ דקדושה) and Moshe accomplished in “offering them to holiness” (לאקרבא לקדושה). This is why the verse precisely states, 

“The sheep of . . Yitro, priest of Midian”.

Even those individual holy sparks (ניצוצות) which were found in the “priest of Midian” – a priest for idol worship – so much so, that “he did not leave any idol worship that he did not worship” – even in they, Moshe accomplished to “bring them close to holiness”.

Therefore, this was the preparation for Moshe Rabbeinu to be a shepherd of Yidden, in Egypt. Namely, that even being in a condition where there is no seeing, nor even any comprehension of G-dliness – where only the conduct of nature was visibly apparent – nevertheless Moshe was the Faithful Shepherd who awakened and drew down faith in G-d, within them, in an inner manner.

8. This is the connection between the two aspects – the nullification of the idol worship of the Nile and the nullification of the decree of, “Every son who is born you shall cast into the river” - For they are (in Pnimiyut) the same aspect:

The decree of, “cast him into the river” is connected with that which the river is the idol worship of Egypt.

Through Moshe - the Faithful Shepherd’s - birth, faith was drawn down into the Yidden, in the Galut of Egypt. So much so, that in the main harshness of the Galut and enslavement – in the “river” - he gave them the power to battle against the idol worship of the Nile. Therefore, also the decree was nullified.

9. This aspect of going out of Egypt, exists each and every day. Therefore, it is understood that all the general aforementioned aspects – the seeing of G-dliness before the descent into Egypt, the descent and Galut of Egypt, and afterward the Geulah of Egypt – also exist within the Avodah of each and every person, every day:

The order of the Avodah of each day is – going to the Beit HaKnesset, going from the Beit HaKnesset to the Beit HaMidrash, and going from the Beit HaMidrash to “combining the study of them (Torah) with a worldly occupation”. 

First, comes the Avodah of prayer, afterward the Avodah of Torah study, and afterward engaging in needs of one’s livelihood.

Through the Avodah of prayer, a Yid draws down the revelation of G-dliness into his soul. So much so, that it is in the manner of seeing G-dliness. After the preparations before prayer and contemplation in the Pesukei d’Zimra prayers etc., one comes to Kriat Shema – where Shema is an acronym of “lift up your eyes (and see) ( “ שמע איז ר״ת ״שאו מרום עיניכם” וראו ).

This is the revelation of G-dliness in the level of seeing (similar to Eretz Yisroel, as aforementioned Par. 5).

Afterward comes the Amidah prayer, like a servant before his Master (כעבדא קמי׳ מרי׳) - complete Bitul.

So much so, that in its beginning, and like its introduction he recites, “My L-rd, open my lips and my mouth” (so that they only) “, “declare (and draw down) Your praise”.

After the Avodah of prayer, “one departs” (גייט מען אפ), from the level of seeing G-dliness and the aforementioned complete Bitul. 

In this there are two “descents”:

  1. From the Beit HaKnesset to the Beit HaMidrash– Torah study which is (where G-d’s wisdom is taken) through the understanding and comprehension of the person, according to his understanding

 However, although the level of understanding and comprehension is a descent compared to the revelation of seeing G-dliness and complete Bitul, at the time of prayer. Nevertheless, in this, the accomplishment of prayer is indeed recognizable:

 The revelation of G-dliness in one’s soul at the time of prayer effects that the comprehension should be in a proper manner (similar to the descent into Egypt, during the life of Yaakov and his sons).

  1. When a Yid goes afterward to his business. At that time, due to the hiddenness and concealment of the dictates of nature, it can cause one to really forget, G-d forbid, G-dliness.

Therefore, in order to rightfully remember that “it is He that gives you strength to make wealth”, and that the business should be conducted according to Shulchan Aruch, according to G-d’s Will – this is with the power of faith in G-d, which he awakens and draws down into Pnimiyut.

10. This is the lesson which a Yid must take out from all the aforementioned, in Avodat HaShem:

  1. One must know that the departure from prayer – from seeing G-dliness, complete Bitul to G-dliness - is already an aspect of descent. 

 Although it is indeed true, that the descent is a thing that is in accordance with Shulchan Aruch. As aforementioned where it states in Shulchan Aruch,

“combine the study of them (Torah) with a worldly occupation”,

Nevertheless, it must be done, solely because he is 

(like the statement of the Sages regarding the descent into Egypt – plainly) 

“compelled by Divine decree”. One does this solely because this is G-d’s Will.

  1. On the other hand, one has nothing to fear from this descent. For although it is an extremely great descent. For he does not have the seeing of G-dliness, nor even (at the time of one’s business dealings) the understanding and comprehension of G-dliness,  

(for during business hours, he thinks of business matters).  

Nevertheless, through that which one awakens the level of Moshe in one’s soul, one’s faith in G-d is revealed in a manner of  

“the nourishing of faith” (ורעה אמונה).  

This takes him out of his personal Galut. So much so, that he sees in all his dealings that 

“The eyes of the L-rd, your G-d, are always upon it = from the beginning of the year until the end of the year”– 

Divine Providence in his business dealings.

From Geulah to Geulah – (may one go from one’s personal Geulah) to the general Geulah through our righteous Moshiach – who will lead us to our Holy Land, soon Mamosh.

M’Sichas Shabbat Parshat Shmot 5722, 5723

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