(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 וַיַּךְ אֶת הַמִּצְרִי וַיִּטְמְנֵהוּ בַּחוֹל. (יג) וַיֵּצֵא בַּיּוֹם הַשֵּׁנִי וְהִנֵּה שְׁנֵי אֲנָשִׁים עִבְרִים נִצִּים וַיֹּאמֶר לָרָשָׁע לָמָּה תַכֶּה רֵעֶךָ. (יד) וַיֹּאמֶר מִי שָׂמְךָ לְאִישׁ שַׂר וְשֹׁפֵט עָלֵינוּ הַלְהָרְגֵנִי אַתָּה אֹמֵר כַּאֲשֶׁר הָרַגְתָּ אֶת הַמִּצְרִי וַיִּירָא מֹשֶׁה וַיֹּאמַר אָכֵן נוֹדַע הַדָּבָר. (טו) וַיִּשְׁמַע פַּרְעֹה אֶת הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה וַיְבַקֵּשׁ לַהֲרֹג אֶת מֹשֶׁה וַיִּבְרַח מֹשֶׁה מִפְּנֵי פַרְעֹה וַיֵּשֶׁב בְּאֶרֶץ מִדְיָן וַיֵּשֶׁב עַל הַבְּאֵר.
(11) And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown up, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens; and he saw an Egyptian smiting a Hebrew, one of his brethren. (12) And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he smote the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. (13) And he went out the second day, and, behold, two men of the Hebrews were striving together; and he said to him that did the wrong: ‘Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?’ (14) And he said: ‘Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us? thinkest thou to kill me, as thou didst kill the Egyptian?’ And Moses feared, and said: ‘Surely the thing is known.’ (15) Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well.
We see the moral compass in the lone story of Moses’s life in Egypt, when he kills an Egyptian man beating a Hebrew (Exodus 2:11-12). Moses, an Egyptian aristocrat, sees an Egyptian persecuting a Hebrew and acts swiftly to protect the vulnerable from the oppression of the strong. The next day, he tries to break up a fight between two Hebrews, proving that his motivating drive is prevention of abuse, not parochial loyalty to the Hebrews irrespective of context. A sine qua non of leadership is a commitment to fairness with an allergy to abuse.
Seeing no one about: Not because Moses wanted to act furtively but to indicate that because there was no one to administer justice, he had to take the law into his own hands.
--Etz Chayim Commentary
He looked this way and that way: He turned to the Left and to the Right, to all the different parties and classes, seeking help from them. And he saw that there was no man: That there was no a single individual willing to stand by the weak; and he slew the Egyptian and buried him in the sand: It was then that he killed the Egyptian within his heart, divorcing himself totally from the Egyptian culture...
-R. Meir Shapira of Lublin
(ה) הוא היה אומר, אין בור ירא חטא, ולא עם הארץ חסיד, ולא הבישן למד, ולא הקפדן מלמד, ולא כל המרבה בסחורה מחכים. ובמקום שאין אנשים, השתדל להיות איש.(5) He would say, a brute does not fear sin, one who is ignorant cannot be devout, one who is bashful does not learn, one who is impatient cannot teach, one who engages in commerce excessively does not become wise. And in a place where there are no men [to do what is right]; strive to be that man.
(יז) וַתִּירֶ֤אןָ הַֽמְיַלְּדֹת֙ אֶת־הָ֣אֱלֹהִ֔ים וְלֹ֣א עָשׂ֔וּ כַּאֲשֶׁ֛ר דִּבֶּ֥ר אֲלֵיהֶ֖ן מֶ֣לֶךְ מִצְרָ֑יִם וַתְּחַיֶּ֖יןָ אֶת־הַיְלָדִֽים׃
(17) The midwives, fearing God, did not do as the king of Egypt had told them; they let the boys live.
- Chayei Sara
- Ki Tisa
- Achrei Mot
- Ki Teitzei
- Ki Tavo
- V'Zot HaBerachah
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