This week’s Torah portion, Shemot, is the beginning of the second book of the Torah. It begins by describing the slavery which our forefathers endured in the land of Egypt. The Parshah goes on to tell us of the birth of Moses, who would lead us from our Egyptian exile.

Through a series of miracles, Moshe grew up in Pharaoh’s palace. When Moses was older, he went out to see what was going on with his fellow Jews. The Torah tells us that, “He went out on the second day, and behold, two Jews were quarreling. Moshe said to the wicked one, ‘Why will you strike your friend?’”1

The Torah calls one of the men wicked. Why was he considered evil? Because he will (in the future tense) strike his friend. Why should he be considered sinful now? He did not yet hit anyone; he merely raised his hand!

Rashi cites the words from the verse, “Why will you strike,” to answer this question. He writes that “Although he had not [yet] hit him, he was called wicked for raising his hand [to strike him].”2

Rashi does not explain why one is considered evil for merely raising his hand to strike his fellow. He is only telling us that in this case the person is considered wicked.

Why was the person deemed wicked? Hashem created each of us “to serve our Creator.” 3 From this, we understand that Hashem created each limb and every organ of the body to help fulfill this goal.

For example, Hashem created a hand to give to another, i.e., “a hand which distributes tzedakah.”4 However, if a person does not use his or her hand to benefit one’s fellow; to the contrary, by using it to strike one’s fellow, the person is sinning. The person misappropriates one’s hand, i.e., misusing it.

In other words, the very act of lifting one’s hand, although the person did not yet hit anyone, contradicts the very purpose for which Hashem created the hand. Therefore, the sin against Hashem begins with the act of lifting one’s hand.

Let us all make sure to learn from this week’s Parshah. We must use every fiber of our being to provide goodness and kindness to all of those with whom we come into contact. Then we will be sure to bring Moshiach now!

Adapted from Likkutei Sichot, Volume 31, Page 5