Parshat Shemot: The consequences of Sinat Chinam –  senseless hatred

We will read this week about Moshe Rabeinu’s (having spent his youth at Pharaoh’s protected castle,) first encounters with the “outside world“: „He went out on the second day, and behold, two Hebrew men were quarrelling, and he said to the wicked one, “Why are you going to strike your friend?” The man replied:  “Who made you a man, a prince, and a judge over us? Do you plan to slay me as you have slain the Egyptian?” Moshe became frightened and said, “Indeed, the matter has become known!” (Shemot 2. 13, 14)

Interestingly, Rashi adds some “background information” to the words. “Indeed, the matter has become known: “the matter” says Rashi, was, something Moshe Rabeinu was wondering about, why the Israelites are considered more sinful than all the seventy nations [of the world], to be subjugated with back-breaking labour? (Now it) has become known to me. Indeed, I see that they deserve it. (As he has now seen for himself the hatred one person had for another). 

Simple question: How could Moshe Rabeinu “made up” his mind about the question he had (why the Israelites are punished) by the fact that just twoindividuals were fighting? This is statistically a “no number” at all?

Perhaps: Moshe Rabeinu was very bothered by the above. Why are the Israelites suffering? When, on his second trip into the outside world he saw the raw hatred between the two Israelites, he realised that the fact that he encountered this incident now, is not by chance. Statistically, this was a non-starter to conclude anything.  Rather, Moshe Rabeinu realised it was a message from Hashem to him, indicating: “Here is the answer to your question. The way they (generally) treat each other, is the reason for their suffering”. It was a message which would determine Moshe Rabeinu’s own compassion to his people in the years to come…

Indeed, I believe that this kind of “message” is something we all experience from time to time!

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Chaim Michael Biberfeld