Rav Matisyahu Salomon shlita says that one cannot be a maamin (a believer) unless he is first ne’eman (faithful). One cannot believe in the Torah and the word of Hashem unless he himself is a person who values a word. If it means nothing when I say something, then when Hashem says something, why should I believe it? The more trustworthy a person is and the more meticulous he is about his own words, the more he will be faithful to the word of the Almighty.

The Torah tells us that one who owns a Jewish slave must release him after the sixth year. He is to leave his master the same way he came. Rashi explains that the expression “b’gapo” in the pasuk means that he is not married. He leaves “with his cloak”; in other words, if he came only as he was, alone within his clothing, that is how he is to leave. According to Rashi, the metaphor for being single is one’s garment.

The Maharal (Neitzach Yisrael 10) writes that when Hashem places Jews in positions of power, from which they are able to save their people, this reveals His special love and protection for us. The Purim story, the incredible hashgachah, and the fact that Mordechai and Esther were appointed to positions of authority to bring about Haman’s downfall, teaches us the importance of Emunas Chachamim. We must always look for Hashem when He is not clearly present, but even more so must we trust the insight of our Torah leaders who are better able to strip away the physical mask that conceals spiritual reality and show us the truth. For klal Yisrael, these are the true keys to salvation and redemption.

The Jewish people are the only people in history to predicate their survival on education. The most sacred duty of parents is to teach their children. Judaism is a religion whose heroes are teachers and whose passion is study. The Egyptians built pyramids. The Romans built the Coliseum. Jews built schools. That is why we alone, of all the civilizations of the ancient world, are still alive and strong, still continuing our ancestors’ vocation, our heritage intact and undiminished. In this parshah, Moshe speaks of the duty of parents to educate their children. We should encourage our children to ask questions, so that the transmission of the Jewish heritage would be not a matter of rote learning but of active dialogue between parents and children.

The Gemara (Chulin) says that rich people are stingy. Rav Shimon Sofer zt”l explains that if a rich person was not stingy, his tz’dakah would be meaningless. Hashem makes him stingy by nature so that parting with his money will be a challenge, even though financially speaking it is not. This way, he, too, can earn the great mitzvah of tz’dakah with m’siras nefesh just like his less affluent brethren, who are parting with money that they can ill afford to part with.

Pharaoh asked Moshe to pray to G-d to remove the frogs. Moshe Rabbeinu prayed and the frogs went away. The same thing happened with the plague of wild animals. Pharaoh suffered and begged Moshe and Aharon. They davened to Hashem and the wild animals left. Likewise, with the hail and the locust. Pharaoh begs Moshe to daven for him, Moshe davens, the hail stops, and the locust leave. Why was it necessary that every single time, Pharaoh would ask him to pray, Moshe would daven, and only then the plague would cease? The answer, says Rav Yerucham Levovitz zt”l (Mir Mashgiach) is that this narration teaches us something very fundamental about life: The way to obtain things in this world is to pray for them. This is the only way to achieve things in this world. Without prayer, not even Moshe could have prevailed.