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Who Is Moshe Rabbeinu?

Published on Tuesday March 31th, 2020

Moshe’s birth: 7th day of Adar, in the year 2368 of Creation. His father: Amram, his mother: Yocheved, his elder brother: Aaron and his elder sister: Myriam.

Moshe was concealed until the age of three months. When his mother was unable to conceal him any longer, she made a straw-plaited cradle for the infant and placed it amid the reeds on the bank of the Nile. It was discovered by Batia who adopted him and entrusted him to a wet nurse, who was none other than his mother, Yocheved.  

PART ONE

Moshe was raised and educated in Pharaoh's court.

When he was old enough to fight, he was entrusted with the mission to subdue the rebellious Ethiopians. The Egyptian warriors besieged the Ethiopian king Kikanos around the city of Saba for nine years without success.

Pharaoh made Moshe a partner to his throne. Thus, followed by a procession of warriors and standing on Pharaoh’s silver chariot, Moshe traveled throughout Egypt and was cheered by the multitudes.

Pharaoh appointed a Hebrew chore master over every ten Hebrews; Dathan, son of Palu was one of them. Every ten Hebrew masters were subordinated to an Egyptian master craftsman. Maror was one of them. Dathan’s wife, Shlomit bat Divri from the tribe of Dan, pleased Maror, who took her by force and chained Dathan. Thus, Dathan divorced his wife. But Maror was not satisfied and acted cruelly: He beat Dathan mercilessly. Observing this injustice, Moshe killed Maror, as he was caught raising his whip on Dathan. Moshe buried the Egyptian in the sand.

The next day Dathan quarreled with his brother Aviram. Moshe reprimanded them in the midst of the quarrel, but Dathan replied: Who are you to judge us? Will you kill us like you killed the Egyptian? Dathan reported to Pharaoh. “Israel, Israel, your soul is more miserable than your chains. Moshe fled as he was pursued by Pharaoh’s agents.

 

PART TWO

On the year 2408, Moshe fled, first to Kush, where he became king, and then to Midyan.

At the age of 76, Moshe married Tziporah, the daughter of Yitro. Who is Yitro?

Pharaoh had three advisors: Bilam, Job and Yitro. He asked for their advice to annihilate the Jews: Job advised Pharaoh to enslave them and grab their property. He endured unspeakable suffering. An entire book, the book of Job, describes his trials. Bilam advised Pharaoh to order the midwives to kill all the Hebrew newborns.

Divine justice ensured that Bilam was later killed by the Jews themselves. But Yitro preferred to flee Egypt and avoid participating in a plot against the Hebrews. He was rewarded for this act of bravery and one of his descendants, Yavetz sat at the Sanhedrin.

In Yitro’s garden was a stick that he brought with him from Egypt. This stick was given by God to Adam, who passed it on to Noah, who then gave it to Shem and later to Abraham, then to Yitzchak, to Yaakov and then to Yosef.

Yitro, who was Pharaoh's advisor, planted this stick in his garden. It was so solid that nobody could extract it.

Yitro made an oath to give one of his daughters to the man who could extricate this stick. Moshe hardly touched it and the stick came unto his hand. Moshe used this staff to perform all the Egyptian miracles.

Moshe oversaw Yitro’s flocks in Midian. One day, as he led them to Mount Sinai, he saw a bush that burned without being consumed. The Holy One, Blessed be He, appeared before him and ordered him to go back to Egypt to liberate the Hebrews. He was 80 years old.

 

PART THREE

Moshe left his wife and children with Yitro. Aaron came to meet him.

Pharaoh declined Moshe’s plea to let the children of Israel go worship Hashem in the desert and increased repressive measures against the Hebrew slaves.

The ten Egyptian plagues followed. Pharaoh promised to let the Hebrews go. Then, he changed his mind again, as soon as the plague subsided.  He persisted in this game of making promises and changing his mind over and over.

The Hebrews left Egypt on the morning of the 15th day of the first month.

Here is their itinerary: From Ramses to Sukkot, from Sukkot to Pi-Hahirot. When the Hebrews settled their encampment at the edge of the Red Sea, the Egyptians, who regretted having let the Hebrews go, caught up with them in the Sea of Reeds. The Hebrews crossed the Red Sea on dry land but the Egyptians were engulfed and drowned.

Moshe ascended Mount Sinai and remained there for 40 entire days, without food or drink. But, in the meantime, the People made the golden calf. Moshe descended from Sinai and broke the tables of the Law.

Moshe implored God to forgive the Hebrews after he descended from the mountain, on the 10th day of the 7th month: this marked the solemn fast of Yom Kippur.

Korach’s revolt. Who was Korach? He was a member of the Levite tribe. Some say he was jealous of Moshe; others claim he began to go astray. Korach was joined by Dathan and Aviram, from the tribe of Reuben (the firstborn), the same men who had opposed Moshe in Egypt. They gathered around Moshe and Aaron.

Our Sages say that envy can unleash the beginning of a revolt. So, they held a confrontation by each holding their censer, resulting in Korach, Dathan, Aviram and their associates being buried alive.

At the beginning of the 40th year, Myriam died. She was not allowed to enter Eretz Israel. The community ran out of the water.

For 40 years, the children of Israel enjoyed the availability of Myriam's well, which followed them in the desert. Then, Moshe made a mistake by hitting the rock instead of speaking to it to unleash the water.  

Aaron joined his fathers on the 1st day of the month of Av.

The death of Moshe occurred on the 7th day of the month of Adar.

God informed Moshe on the division of the country. He revealed the history of the world from the beginning to the last judgment. Moshe was buried in the territory of Moav and Aaron on the border of the land of Edom. According to tradition, these places will be integrated into the Promised Land at the end of time.

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