The name of this week's portion, Va'eira (meaning "I appeared"), is from the second verse, not the first. The first verse is "And G‑d spoke to Moses saying to him, I am G‑d". (Ex. 6:3) The first name of G‑d used in the verse, Elokim, refers to G‑d's attribute of severity, as G‑d was angry with Moses for questioning His actions ("why did things get worse for the Jews?" (Ex. 5:22)) at the end of last week's portion. The second name used, Havayah, refers to G‑d's attribute of mercy. Rashi explains that this expresses G‑d's desire to reward those who follow His path. G‑d was reminding Moses that nothing He asks us to do is for naught. Each of us must stay tuned to see what the outcome will be.

The name of the parasha, "Va'eira", can be read two ways: "I showed Myself" and "I show myself" - both past and present. Torah Ohr says that G‑d's revealation of Himself was not an isolated incident relegated to the distant past but is happening now, too. We demonstrate our ability to see past the facade to spiritual truth every time we use the strengths we inherit from the Forefathers: the kindness of Abraham in the world's "dog eat dog" mentality; Isaac's strength and self-control in a generation that demands abandonment of values; the mercy of Jacob, in honest appraisal without self-aggrandizing influences. Deep down, we have not sold out…

The Lubavitcher Rebbe relates this to when G‑d instructed Moses to tell the people they will be redeemed, (Ex. 3:17), and Moses answered, "But they won't believe me". (Ibid. 4:1) Moses worried that after 210 years of exile, the Jews were not only physically exiled but also mentally stuck. G‑d answered, "I have shown Myself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" (Ibid. 6:3) "...I have also heard the groaning of the Jewish people". (Ibid. 6:5) G‑d was saying that the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are incapable of being stuck. All you have to do is tell them I am coming - "And I will take you out". (Ibid. 6:6) We are no different even after this last exile of almost 2000 years. Deep down, we have not sold out. We just have to be reminded.

To conclude, the Shelah said that a leader must be patient and sensitive to his flock. We see this in the verse, "And G‑d spoke to Moses and Aaron and commanded them about the nation of Israel". (Ex. 6:13) Rashi says that G‑d commanded Moses and Aaron to be patient with their people. So also, Almighty, the ultimate Leader, we ask that You be patient with Your nation, Israel.

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

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