Thursday, January 12, 2012

Rav Erez on Parashat Shemot

Parashat Shemot – Rav Erez
In the beginning of Parashat Shemot, we read about the heroic acts of the Jewish midwives.
What was the secret of their strength that gave them the power to stand up against such evil?
The Passuk says "ויהי כי יראו המילדות את האלוקים..."   the midwives feared and were in awe of God. It was their Yirat Shamayim which guided them.
Pharaoh commands them to kill, but their Yirah brought life. The word Yirah in hebrew ,יראה has the same letters as the Hebrew word for the Egyptian Nile, the Yeor היאר does. This is because the Nile was feared and worshiped by the Egyptians. The midwives showed the world that there is a true God who should be feared. Yirat Shamayim is the basis of Emunah and even precedes Ahava, Love.
Just as the sense of sight, ראיה, is clear and without doubts to the beholder, so too our Emunah and Yirah must be.
Avraham the first believer was also the first "fearer" of God, upon whom after Akeidat Yitzchak it is written:  עתה ידעתי כי ירא אלוקים אתה" now I know that you have Yirat Shamayim."
Concerning the Eshet Chayil it says: אשה יראת ה' היא תתהלל" a woman who is God fearing should be praised."
Such were the Jewish women in Egypt, and it was in their merit that we were redeemed.

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