How could Moshe be the right man for the job?!

We are so used to the idea of Moshe leading the Exodus, that we might not realize that he was, ostensibly, an inappropriate choice for the position. Considering that Moshe was rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter and brought up in his palace, doesn’t it seem just a little ungracious for Moshe to march into his childhood home and threaten the one who had raised him? 

Was Pharaoh really roaming around in pajamas in the middle of the night?

We may not have a way to verify that bold claim, but the sentiment is certainly true. When Makas B’choros struck at midnight, Pharaoh “got up” and called for Moshe and Aharon (Sh’mos 12:30-31). Rashi adds just one word, “mi’mitaso,” to explain that Pharaoh got up “from his bed.”

It’s easy to play “Monday morning quarterback” – or is it?

As Sefer B’reishis comes to a close, Yosef is approached by his brothers, who beg for forgiveness and mercy. An understanding Yosef reassures them: “You may have intended to harm me, but Hashem had good intentions; today it is clear that He placed me here to sustain all of the people” (B’reishis 50:20). In other words, Yosef wisely told his brothers that they were examining the events of the story through an overly narrow lens. They were focused on the minute details of their actions, while Yosef was keeping an eye on the big picture. Blessed with the perspective of hindsight, he helped the brothers see that they all were mere pawns in the hands of the Grand Chessmaster of the universe. Everything that had transpired was all for the endgame of sustaining the world during the years of famine.

They don’t call them “the magic words” for nothing.

Continuing our theme from last week, Rashi (Sh’mos 7:19) writes that Moshe Rabbeinu could not be the one to set off the plagues of Blood and Frogs by striking the Nile, because he owed a debt of gratitude to the river for protecting him as a helpless baby. Similarly, Rashi (ibid. 8:12) comments that Moshe could not summon the Lice by banging his staff on the Egyptian soil out of a sense of hakaras ha’tov to the ground, which had hidden the Egyptian he killed many years earlier. For these reasons, Aharon was chosen to carry out these makos.

For some remarkable people, foresight can be 20/20.

The end of Parshas VaYigash describes how Yosef took complete control of the agricultural and economic aspects of Egypt during the seven years of famine. He rationed out bread in exchange for money, cattle, and land; he relocated all Egyptians to government housing; and he imposed a 20% income tax on all future crops.