Vol 16.09 - Va'eira 3                                          Spanish French Audio  Video

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Rashi(7:2) "You will speak": The effect of the speech of Moshe on Pharoah (even though he had 'closed lips')

The power of Moshe "to castigate him with plagues and sufferings (Rashi 7:1) according to Pnimiyut.(5737)

(Vol. XVI, pp. 69-76)


The Greatest Speech of All
In this week's portion of Va'eira we read how Moshe says to G-d,[187] "Speech comes to me with much difficulty; how will Pharaoh understand me?" G-d responds:[188] "See, I have made you a master over Pharaoh, and Aharon your brother, will be your interpreter. You will speak all that I shall command you, and Aharon your brother will speak to Pharaoh."
Rashi cites the words "You will speak" and explains: "[You will speak] a single time each message as you have heard it from My mouth, and Aharon your brother will translate it and make it palatable to Pharaoh's ears."

In other words, according to Rashi Moshe was also commanded to speak to Pharaoh; the difference between Moshe's and Aharon's speaking was merely that Moshe was to speak but once, while Aharon was to "translate it and make it palatable to Pharaoh's ears," to the extent that it influence him to "send out the Children of Israel from his land."

That is to say, the intent of Moshe's speaking to Pharaoh was not to convince him logically to free the Jews, but to act as G-d's messenger, speaking in His stead and transmitting the Divine message with utter exactitude -- he was to say it but once (just as G-d had said it but once), exactly as he heard it from G-d.

This, however, raises the following difficulty. G-d spoke to Moshe in the Holy Tongue,[189] in Hebrew, and in relaying the message exactly as he heard it, Moshe had to relay it in Hebrew as well. Since Pharaoh did not understand Hebrew,[190] what was accomplished by Moshe's Hebrew transmission of G-d's message?

This will be understood in light of Rashi's comment on the words in the previous verse, "I have made you a master over Pharaoh," which he interprets to mean: "a judge and enforcer, to smite him with plagues and afflictions." In other words, the purpose of Moshe's speaking to Pharaoh was not to convince him logically to release the Jews, but to "judge" him in a manner of an "enforcer," "with plagues and afflictions."

Here, as well, Moshe was to tell Pharaoh "Send out My people" in so harsh a tone and so irate a manner that from Moshe's tone of voice and facial expressions and the like,[191] Pharaoh would understand that he was being addressed sternly -- similar to "plagues and afflictions."

In more spiritual terms, the special power given to Moshe was as follows. Although Pharaoh -- the paradigm of unholiness -- was still at his strongest, G-d gave Moshe the power to "judge" him in a manner of an "enforcer," "with plagues and afflictions."[192]

This ability was given specifically to Moshe -- not even Aharon possessed it -- for as the leader of his generation and the individual who "stood between you and G-d, to transmit to you His words,"[193] he was specifically granted these powers.

This is why

Aharon's speech did not suffice;
although Moshe spoke to Pharaoh in the Holy Tongue, a language Pharaoh was incapable of understanding, it was necessary for Moshe to speak to Pharaoh: It was essential to demolish Pharaoh while he was still at his most powerful; something that
could only be done by Moshe, and
done in a manner of an "enforcer," "with plagues and afflictions."
In light of the above, we also understand why Rashi states that Moshe had to transmit G-d's words "as he heard it from G-d's mouth":
Moshe possessed the power to crush the forces of unholiness while they were still at their strongest only because he was G-d's messenger, through whom there was revealed G-d's awesome might. Thus Moshe had to transmit G-d's words exactly "as he heard it from G-d's mouth" -- similar to "The Divine Presence [that] spoke through Moshe."[194]

This also explains why "[You will speak] a single time each message as you have heard it from My mouth" came only after Moshe's protestations of "Speech comes to me with much difficulty."

Chassidus explains[195] that Moshe's "speech difficulties" resulted from his tremendous degree of nullification to G-d -- similar to the concept of "Since he is so occupied obtaining, he is incapable of transmitting."[196]

Thus, it was specifically the quality and nullity of "Speech comes to me with much difficulty," that served as the spiritual preparation to Moshe's becoming "a master over Pharaoh."

Only when one feel's himself to be "nothing at all," can he merit to have G-d's words emanating from him -- something absolutely necessary when it comes to utterly crushing Pharaoh and enabling the liberation of the Jewish people.

( From http://www.sichos-in-english.org/books/chassidic-dimension-5/14.htmBased on Likkutei Sichos)

187.    Shmos 6:30.
188.    Ibid., 7:1-2.
189.    See Rashi, Bereishis 2:23.
190.    See ibid., 50:6; Panim Yafos, Shmos 6:12.
191.    See Rashi, Shmos 15:8.
192.    See Toras Chaim, Shmos 119b ff.; Or HaTorah, Shmos pp. 229-230.
193.    Devarim 5:5.
194.    See sources cited in Likkutei Sichos, Vol. IV, p. 1087.
195.    Torah Or, 23a; Likkutei Torah, Eikev 14b, et al.
196.    See Chullin 108b.



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