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Shabbat Parashat Shemot| 5763
The Making of a King
Moshe Rabbeinu certainly had an unusual path to the leadership of the Jewish people. He started out as an Egyptian prince, fled Egypt and continued his life with the Midianites, and only later was sent by Hashem as a messenger of salvation who suddenly arrived on the Israelite scene. What was the significance of Moshe’s specific and unusual upbringing?
Ibn Ezra (Shemot 2:3) brings two insights into the advantageous elements of Moshe’s situation. Firstly, he learned the ways of leadership and self-confidence as a prince in the greatest power of his time and was spared having a spirit broken by the harsh realities of slavery. We see the bravery and self-confidence manifested in the saving of the Jew being beaten by an Egyptian and of the daughters of Yitro at the well. Another advantage was that, having grown up separate from his brothers, he was able to maintain a level of authority over the nation which over-familiarity would have made difficult.
One can add that exposure to Bat Paroh and Yitro taught Moshe about the psychological recipe to making great spiritual changes in a short amount of time. As time went on, Moshe would need to educate Bnei Yisrael and facilitate their meteoric rise from a band of slaves to a “kingdom of priests” prepared to receive the Torah.
Despite the advantage of Moshe's growing up in non-Jewish surroundings, one Jewish experience which Hashem knew he could not do without was the preliminary development in the embrace of his saintly mother, Yocheved. She provided him not merely with milk. The spiritual basis for all future undertakings was provided by the purity of his mother. Certainly, the prodigious, young Moshe absorbed many spoken and unspoken lessons from this period.
Our ability to succeed at certain life challenges and tasks may benefit from our exposure to a variety of outside influences. However, the basic building blocks of our personality must be formed in purity.
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