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Wha does his enigmaic senence mean? Pro. Wolson explained ha ﬁrs o all, he ibn Ezra undersands ha he verse mus no be aken lierally. Raher, i means ha because o his own ree will, Pharaoh chose o disobey God, and God in urn le him ollow he inclinaions o his own hear. I is only in his sense ha God hardened Pharaoh’s hear. God simply did no hink o Pharaoh as meriing auxiliary grace ha would help him urn away rom his reely chosen bad conduc. R. Abraham ibn Daud, he Spanish-Jewish asronomer, hisorian, and philosopher rom oledo, Spain (ca. 1110-ca.1180); auhor o he chronicle iled Seer ha-Qabbalah, and auhor as well o a philosophical work called Emunah Ramah, ollows R. Abraham ibn Ezra’s hird explanaion.Remarkably, R. obiah ben Eliezer, a naive o Greece, and an auhor wih a syle vasly diﬀeren han ha o he ibn Ezra, in his case (in his commen o Exodus 10:20) gives he same explanaion ha he ibn Ezra does. (obiah ben Eliezer was a almudis and poe o he 11h cenury. His work Leqah ov, a midrashic commenary on he Penaeuch and he Five Megillo, is also called Pesiqa Zuraa. ) From he Leqah ov one sees ha he Spanish-Jewish philosophers were no he only ones who sough o resolve aninomy beween ree will and divine predesinaion expressed in he biblical verses regarding he hardening o Pharaoh’s hear wih a maximalis asserion o human ree will.
Rabbi Shmuel Goldin
hen Moshe’s birh was chronicled in Parsha Shmo, he ex deliberaely omited any descripion o his lineage, choosing insead o preace his birh wih he myserious senence “And a man wen rom he House o Levi and he ook a daugher o Levi.”Tis omission o Moshe’s bona ﬁdes is now addressed in Parsha Va’eira.God commands Moshe o reurn o Pharaoh and again demand he release o he Israelie slaves. When Moshe objecs, ciing his speech impedimen, God repeas he direcive, his ime o boh Moshe and Aharon.Te orah hen abruply digresses o presen a genealogical able lising he descendens o Yaakov’s oldes sons, Reuven, Shimon and Levi. Te lising concludes wih a deailed descripion o he lineage o Moshe and Aharon’s amily wihin he ribe o Levi.Upon compleion o his genealogical record, he orah reurns o he narraive o he Exodus wih he words “Tis was Aharon and Moshe…. Tey were he ones who spoke o Pharaoh…. Tis was Moshe and Aharon.”
Once again we are conroned wih a srange and abrup digression wihin he orah ex. Why does he orah speciﬁcally choose his dramaic momen o deail he lineage o Moshe and Aharon? Why inerrup he hisorical narraive midsream? Tis genealogical able would clearly have been more appropriae a he beginning o he sory, when Moshe is ﬁrs inroduced. Amram and Yocheved, he parens o Aharon and Moshe, are menioned here or he ﬁrs ime by name. Given he reasons or he omission o heir ideniies when Moshe is born, why does he orah see ﬁ o reveal hose ideniies now?
Mos o he classical commenaries are srangely silen concerning he mos perplexing aspecs o his passage, choosing o commen only brieﬂy.Rashi, or example, saes ha because he orah menions Aharon and Moshe a his ime, he ex eels compelled o ell us more ully o heir birh and lineage. He ails o explain, however, why his inormaion was no given in conjuncion wih he earlier appearances o Moshe and Aharon in he ex.Te Sorno and Abravanel boh mainain ha he genealogical able is presened o show ha he choice o Aharon and Moshe was no arbirary. God begins His search or worhy leadership wih he descendens o Yaakov’s ﬁrs- and second-born, Reuven and Shimon. Only when He proceeds o Levi, he hird ribe, does God ﬁnd