top of page

Shemot. Eyes Wide Open!

"Living is easy with eyes closed; misunderstanding all you see" (The Beatles)

At the start of Shemot we meet Moshe who will become perhaps the greatest Jewish leader of all time. Reading the verses that depict his earliest experiences, we look for the ingredients that shaped his formidable potential for leadership; what made him so special? This year I noticed a recurrent theme, more accurately, a repeated verb. It relates to Moshe’s sight:

יא וַיְהִי בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם, וַיִּגְדַּל מֹשֶׁה וַיֵּצֵא אֶל-אֶחָיו, וַיַּרְא, בְּסִבְלֹתָם;

וַיַּרְא אִישׁ מִצְרִי, מַכֶּה אִישׁ-עִבְרִי מֵאֶחָיו.

יב וַיִּפֶן כֹּה וָכֹה, וַיַּרְא כִּי אֵין אִישׁ

“…When Moses had grown up, he went out to his kinsfolk and saw their labors. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his kinsmen. He turned this way and that and saw no one about..”

Years later, at the burning bush, Moshe again stops to “see”; the verb רא"ה reappears several times. This “seeing” attracts God’s attention(1):

וַיַּרְא, וְהִנֵּה הַסְּנֶה בֹּעֵר בָּאֵשׁ, וְהַסְּנֶה, אֵינֶנּוּ אֻכָּל