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Parshas VaEira - 20/20 Vision

By R' Shaya Gross, z'l

Posted on 01/11/18

[Ed. Note] Out of the respect and recognition of the impact made by longtime BJL friend and contributor, Reb Shaya Gross, z’l, we will maintain a living memoriam to Shaya through the sweet words and thoughtful insights of  his Divrei Torah. BJL readers will remember his weekly column on the Parsha and on various Torah ideas and concepts. These meaningful words will help us remember this special young man who will be sorely missed and for those who did not merit to know him, this will be the most appropriate way for them to become familiar with who he was.


Parshas Shemos ends with a seemingly dark 'endnote' by Moshe failing in his mission to end the servitude of Bnei Yisroel under Pharaoh. In fact, the servitude intensifies, Moshe is bewildered, and G-d reassures Moshe that He will free the Yidden, but the Parsha ends there, with Moshe not understanding how and when that will occur.
This week’s Parsha begins with the verse ‘And Elokim spoke to Moshe and said I am Hashem.’ What does this Pasuk mean? Why  does G-d’s name change from “Elokim to Hashem?”

I think the explanation is as follows. We are taught that ‘Elokim’ is associated with the Mida of Din-[strict judgment], whereas ‘Hashem’ is associated with the Mida of Rachamim-[mercy]. Hence G-d is saying to Moshe ‘now I am going to show you that what you thought was strict judgment is really absolute Rachamim and for your good’.

Parshas Vaera then discusses the first seven Makos, which are the prelude to the amazing exodus from Egypt, where we left slavery, loaded with the riches of Egypt, on our way to Matan Torah, the greatest moment in all of history.

We all go through difficult times where things don’t seem to make sense. At times, our efforts to grow and work on issues seem to make things worse, just as it seemed to Moshe at the end of last week’s Parsha. Perhaps the Torah specifically ended last week’s Parsha at that point to teach us this lesson about life. No matter how difficult the situation that we are dealing with is, there will always be a new ‘parsha’ where everything will make perfect sense. Sometimes we merit to see it ourselves in our lifetime and sometimes we have to wait for Yemos Hamoshiach to understand it, but there always is another chapter which will reveal to us that everything was Rachamim and for our benefit.

May we all merit to see that clear '20/20 vision' of our mission and purpose in life very soon.