In this week's Torah reading Hashem promises Moshe he will redeem the nation of Israel out of Egypt and he will take them to a good and broad land. How can such a small land be called broad? The Natziv explains this issue.
Moshe’s first action as an emerging leader was that he saw an Egyptian beating an Israelite and killed the Egyptian (Shemot 2:11-12). This was followed by confronting two Israelites fighting and trying to stop them, only to be scorned, “Who has placed you as an officer and judge over us? Will you kill me the way that you killed the Egyptian?” (ibid. 14). Moshe was then sought by Paroh and slated for execution, but he managed to escape to Midian.
Before the appointment of Moshe at the burning bush, the pasuk announces: “Hashem saw Bnei Yisrael, and Hashem knew (vayeda)” (Shemot 2:25). Many of our great commentators have toiled to explain this pasuk, especially its conclusion. Doesn’t Hashem always know everything? What exactly is it here that Hashem “knew,” and what does it have to do with Bnei Yisrael’s burgeoning redemption?
We have dealt with helping Jews being accepted and encouraging the conversion of those with patriarchal Jewish lineage. Now we will deal with the question of how to approach the challenges of conversion. No broad elements of the religious community in Israel treat conversion as a highest priority endeavor, with groups viewing other things as higher on the national agenda. To change this, the political leadership of the State of Israel and Torah leadership need to embark on a program that turns the spiritual absorption of olim, especially those from the Former Soviet Union who require conversion, into a major national project. Passiveness with the illusion that matters will work out by themselves, runs the real risk of assimilation within the Jewish State.
It is hard to understand the way Moshe and Aharon presented their demands of Paroh, demands which resulted in the freeing of Bnei Yisrael from bondage and their exodus from Egypt. Hashem told them to tell Paroh that they want to travel for three days into the desert and bring sacrifices to Hashem (Shemot 5:3). Was there a need for Hashem to hide the fact that they were to be leaving permanently and not just bringing sacrifices and returning? Certainly Hashem was capable of getting Paroh to agree to anything. In fact, he even had to harden Paroh’s heart so that he would not agree earlier.