Parshas Shemos

The Difference between Moshe Rabbenu and the Avos

At the end of this week’s parsha , Moshe asks Hashem, “Why have you done evil to these people, why have you sent me? From the time I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name he has done evil to these people, but you did not rescue them.”

Hashem said to Moshe, “Now you will see what I shall do to Pharaoh …”

According to our Mefarshim the exchange is as follows: Moshe Rabbenu challanges, “You created me to do only good for the Jewish nation, why is bad coming as a result of my actions?”

Hashem answers, “Now you will see what happens to Pharaoh…”

Rashi then brings the Gemorah from Sanhedrin (111A), “Chaval that I lost my Chassidim and I cannot find them. When I told Avraham that his children will inherit Eretz Yisroel and then commanded him to bring Yitzchak as a sacrifice, he did not question me…”

Hashem said to Moshe, “Because you are scrutinizing my ways you will see what happens to Pharaoh” –

implying that Moshe will not see what happens in the war of the 31 Kings against Bnei Yisrael and therefore will not be able to rejoice at attaining Eretz Yisroel.

Why did Moshe feel that he had a “right” to complain? Why did Hashem answer so harshly and give such a heavy punishment? Why did Hashem lament for the days of our Avos? Since Moshe was created to do good for the Jewish people his complaint was that Hashem should choose a different shaliach. “It’s not my job, it goes against what I was created for.”

By complaining Moshe rebelled. And Hashem longed for our Avos, who subjected themselves totally to Hashem’s will.What was special about the Avos that was lacking in Moshe? The Avos went against their human nature, as Rashi points out; Avraham was commanded to bring Yitzchak as a korban.

For Avraham, the epitome of kindness, to sacrifice Yitzchak was against his merciful nature. This commandment also seemed to completely contradict Hashem’s promise that Avraham’s offspring would inherit Eretz Yisroel . Yet, he did what was asked of him without question. Our Avos broke their middos in service of Hashem.

Moshe Rabbenu was given rebuke for not overcoming his natural tendencies in service of Hashem. Although he was created to do good, and he did good to the best of his ability, it was not a complete service to Hashem. The highest form of avodah is when one changes his own nature, even if this seemingly goes against what we believe to be beneficial. By transforming ourselves in accordance with G-d’s will, we are recognizing that He is the King.

Over the years people have asked me if I would ever draw cartoons depicting some of the cases found in Yora Daya. Well, the answer is yes! I recently published a sefer called The Great Game of Kashrut. Click on the link to find out more: The Great Game of Kashrut

As for me, I don’t want to believe in a God that I understand. --

If you would like to dedicate a Davar Torah in honor of a special occasion or in memory of a beloved family member please contact Yisroel Simon at

Good Shabbos,
R’ Channen