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Parshah Shemot

Parshah Shemot

Exodus 1:1-6:1

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Torah Portion: Shemot
From our Sages on the Parshah


Pharaoh's daughter... saw the box among the rushes; and she sent her maid and fetched it (Exodus 2:5)

The Hebrew word ammatah ("her maid") can also be translated "her arm." This, says the Talmud, is to teach us that "her arm was extended for many arm-lengths" (to enable her to reach the basket).

Said Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk: If the basket lay "many arm-lengths" beyond her reach, why did Pharaoh's daughter extend her arm in the first place? This teaches us that even when we are confronted with a situation that is beyond our capacity to rectify, we should not resign ourselves to inactivity, reasoning that the little we can do won't change anything anyway. Pharaoh's daughter heard a child's cry and extended her arm, despite the fact that a seemingly unbridgeable distance lay between her and the basket. But because she did the maximum of which she was capable, G-d did the rest.

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