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Published by: outdash2 on Jan 04, 2013
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02/01/2013

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“But the midwives feared Hashem and they did not do as the king of Egypt spoke to them, and they caused the boys to live” (1:17).If we consider the fact that the king of Egypt’s decree essentially ordered infanticide, it is really not so startling that two Jewish midwiveswould not kill innocent Jewish baby boys. In fact, we could assume thatmost people would not commit such a heinous crime, even if it wascommanded by a king. If this is so, then what was so unique about the two Jewish midwives’ behavior? Why does the Torah find it necessary to relateand mention their actions and deeds?Rav Elya Meir Bloch zt”l offers the following explanation:In reality, the great accomplishment of the two Jewish midwives’ wasnot necessarily the fact that they, “did not do as the king of Egypt spoke tothem.” Instead, their true greatness is emphasized in the first half of thepassuk rather than the second– “But the midwives feared Hashem.” Themidwives could have rationalized the murder of certain baby boys with theintent of saving the greater part of the Jewish nation. However, they wouldnot, and did not, do so. Why not? Because they “feared Hashem!” We aretaught that the only guiding principle of truly righteous individuals is YirasShamayim, the fear of Heaven. When one is faced with situations that areintellectually, morally, or ethically unjust, the tenet that must guide one’sultimate decisions and actions is Yiras Shamayim. We have, unfortunately,witnessed in our lifetime, unspeakable crimes and atrocities committed by anation of enlightened and intellectual people. Many of their doctors andmedical personnel, who swore and adhered to the Hippocratic oath–themedical oath of ethics–performed horrific “experiments” on innocent men,women and children. They were able to somehow rationalize their wickedand immoral actions in the name of science. Without Yiras Shamayim asone’s guide, even those challenges or situations that seem to be wrong onsuch a basic level may sometimes become permissible!This fear, then, was the true greatness of the two Jewish midwives;they had no rationalizations and no excuses. Nothing could sway them orcloud their judgment because they “feared Hashem!”
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Often times, we wonder why all of our tefillos are not answered. We must realize, however, that ourtefillos really are answered; we simply don’t understand Hashem’s plan right away. Hashem can becompared to a parent; we, the Bnei Yisrael, are His children. Sometimes, when a parent seems to bestringent on a child, the parent is merely looking out for his or her child’s best interest. Due to a lack of perspective, the child usually does not understand his or her parent’s decision at the time it is made.Nevertheless, the decision is intended to help the child in the long run. Like our parents, Hashem knowswhat’s ultimately best for us. Our job is to appreciate Hashem’s actions, even if we don’t understandthem right away. We need to come to the ultimate realization that Hashem knows what’s best for us, andHe immensely cares about our individual relationship with Him as well.
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Parshat ShemotBecause The Feared Hashem Rabbi oseh Schreiber

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