These are the two special words that brought great smiles and joy to the Yidden.
They were the special code words that identified Moshe as the great savior sent by
Hashem to take out His nation out of Mitzrayim.
Yosef had already apprised the Jews many years earlier that whoever utters
these two special code words would be the acknowledged savior of Klal
Yisroel. Their savior had finally arrived. Moshe uttered these two words with great
persuasion. They were convinced that he was their savior. After all, he had uttered
the two special words
At first glance this seems quite strange! Everybody seems to be waiting for the
man to come along and proclaim these two words loud and clear. These words
certainly couldn’t be much of a secret if everybody knew them. What prevents
anybody from coming along and proclaiming them . I’m sure there must have
been plenty of impostors around in those days. History never lacked any of them.
What prevented one of them from coming forth and placing his claim to fame! How
could these words be accepted as the special password if everyone knew them? In
fact, the Ramban as well as many others ask this question. I take absolutely no
credit for it!
The Ramban’s first answer is that Hashem assured us that no one would
ever lie to us and abuse these words. One wonders then, if we’re so assured by
Hakodosh Boruch Hu that there will be no impostors, then what’s the purpose of
any password altogether? Let him simply present his credentials. Why a password?
The Ramban’s second answer is that Moshe was taken away from his father’s
house at the very young age of 12. Therefore, it would be very unlikely for Moshe to
have known of this password from his own home. Thus, when he uttered it, he was
immediately believed. After all, how could he have known it?
Yet this answer is very difficult to comprehend. Moshe’s intelligence at 12 was
far greater than ours at 100. He probably knew more at 3 than we at 93. He even
knew the secret Shem Hameforash, which he used to kill the Egyptian. Doesn’t he
know these two very very important passwords? Everybody know them except for
him? This is extremely difficult to comprehend!
The third answer the Ramban gives is that these words were a secret passed on
from Yaakov to Yosef to Levi, etc. is also difficult to understand. If this was such a
big secret, how would all the people know that he is telling the truth?
What special secret lies in the words that these two words have
been chosen more than any other? Don’t they just simply mean, “Remember, I have
Why use two passwords? Isn’t one enough?
The entire conversation between Hashem and Moshe screams out for an
explanation. Hashem tells Moshe to tell the Yidden , and assures him
that this will convince them. They will definitely listen and believe him. No doubt
about it. Yet Moshe answers back “They will not listen to my voice. They will not believe me.”
What’s going on here? Who are we dealing with? This is none other than Moshe
Rabbeinu! All of our emunah doesn’t come to his toes. Hashem assures Moshe that
they will listen Does Moshe have any doubts, chas
v’shalom? This is preposterous True, we do find that Moshe is immediately punished
for this statement. He had no right to say loshon hora. But
he committed a far greater crime. He expressed doubt and even challenged
Hashem’s words. How could Moshe even have the slightest doubt as to the truth
of Hashem’s assurance that they will listen?
Yet, strangely enough, instead of Hashem telling Moshe that he should stop
doubting His words and have proper faith in what he is told, we find that Hashem
doesn’t even dispute Moshe’s contention. Instead, he goes along with
Moshe’s contention and decides to give him an entire bag of proofs that he is to
show them- -. One proof doesn’t seem to be enough. Maybe this will not convince
them, so Hashem gives Moshe a total of three proofs. Moshe asks for one proof and
Hashem gives him three. All of a sudden Hashem makes an about face and agrees
to Moshe’s proposition? He must give Moshe three proofs. After all, perhaps there
will be lots of skeptics who will not believe the first or the second? What’s going on!
Hashem doesn’t make any mistakes! Why give Moshe any proofs whatsoever?
There are many, many more questions one can ask, as the Ramban expresses
himself The posuk actually begs for an
explanation (also see the Ohr Ha’chaiyim Hakodosh). So let me put down my own
possible thoughts on the matter.
We find the word used in many different ways in the Torah. Here are a few
3) Count as in –
4) Missing (from the count)
So we see that the word doesn’t simply mean remembering; it also has
some other meanings.
When Yaakov Ovinu gathered all his children together and wanted to reveal
to them the time when the golus will end- the shecinah suddenly left him.
Neither could he tell them when the golus Mitzrayim would end nor could he reveal
when the final redemption would arrive. When the Shechinah left him he realized
that he should not be revealing this secret to them. Maybe it’s because it would dash
all hopes for those who would realize that the final end is still so many hundreds of
years away and couldn’t wait that long. The very thought that we don’t know when
Moshiach is coming gives us the courage to continue on. Maybe he’ll be here today.
Maybe he’ll be here tomorrow! It’s this hope that he can come on any day that’s
kept us going for so many years. Knowing the end date could be a very dangerous
thing for people living many years ago. Knowing it’s so far off can make a person
lose all hope.
The Medrash says that Yaakov passed this secret on only to Yosef. Yosef passed
it on to Levi. Levi passed it on only to the greatest zekeinim (elders) of the next
generation, and so this secret was known by very few. Only the greatest zekeinim knew
the precise moment of the Egyptian redemption. Only the zekeinim knew that it would
occur precisely at midnight of the 15th day of Nissan in the year 2448. This date was
a carefully guarded secret. Nobody knew it except for the zekeinim. It probably was as
well guarded as the coming of moshiach is nowadays. It’s totally unknown to any of
us. Those who know it don’t say, and those who say don’t know!
Any person that would present himself as the Jewish savior would immediately be
put to the supreme test. He would have to come to the zekeinim and reveal to them
the precise moment of the Geulah. If he would be off by as much as one single
day or perhaps even by a minute, then they knew he was nothing but an imposter.
When Shevet Ephraim instituted a rebellion thirty years earlier, Klal Yisroel refused
to go along with them. The zekeinim told them that the time of the geulah had still
not arrived. They had reckoned the 400 years incorrectly. They had started counting
from the time of the “Bris bein hab’sorim.” They were not given any credence! The
dates and times didn’t match the zekeinim’s carefully guarded mesorah. The words
ô÷ãúé ô÷åã don’t mean that he would have to say those two words but rather that
he would have to give them the exact time on which Hashem would finally take the
Yidden out of Eggypt. Only the zekeinim knew this carefully guarded secret.
Along came Moshe with the exact precise day, hour and minute. He gave them
the exact information they required. Remember ô÷åã can mean appointed and
also means count. He gave them the precise appointed moment when Hashem
will take them out of Mitzrayim. This is what is actually meant by the words. It means that Moshe gave them the precise appointed time when Hashem
has counted them to finally be remembered. Knowing the two words
themselves meant nothing; one had to know the precise moment when the would
occur. The zekeinim were of course absolutely convinced that he’s the right man.
After all, how could anybody have known this great secret unless Hashem had
revealed it to him! This is what Hashem meant when he told Moshe that they would
listen to him. If you look into the posuk you will see that He was referring only to
the zekeinim to whom he was being sent. He had clearly instructed Moshe to go to
the zekeinim and tell them. They needed absolutely no further proof
it was enough for them. After all, it matched the exact moment that Yosef
had told them it would occur.
However, Moshe correctly asked Hashem, what about everyone else? They
don’t know this secret. How will I convince them that I am telling the truth? If
someone were to approach us today and tell us that he is Hashem’s messenger and
that the exact day when the geulah will take place is on XX/X/XX at precisely 12:00
A.M., you can bet there will be lots of skeptics even if he has the full endorsement of
the Moetzes Gedolai HaTorah! We don’t know the date so how are we supposed to
know if he’s telling the truth? Moshe was not talking about the zekeinim. They would
easily be convinced, but how will he convince everybody else that the time of their
geulah had finally arrived and that he was the true messenger of G-d?
Here, however, Moshe made a blunder. He said “they” wouldn’t listen to me.
With the word “they” he included everyone except the zekeinim. Here Moshe made
a terrible mistake!. He was There surely were some people who
would believe Moshe on the zekeinim’s say so alone. You can’t accuse everybody
of not believing in our elders. There were still many people who did have emunas
chachomim and would not ask for any further proof. For them, the zekeinim’s word
would be enough. They needed no further proof. For this, Moshe was punished.
Watch out when you use the adjective “they” or “everyone” as we do many a time.
However, on his basic premise that some people would not believe him, Moshe was
definitely on target. In fact, he was so right, that Hashem had to give him three
proofs. One may not be enough for everyone. Some people would need two proofs
to be convinced. For them the second proof was the last. Why call the second proof the last one?
– the second. But now the whole thing makes sense. For some people it was the last.
They didn’t need a third proof! However, there were still others who were far greater
skeptics and would need even a third proof.
Moshe never doubted Hashem’s word that the zekeinim would believe him. That
would have been absurd. It was for those of Klall Yisroel that unfortunately had sunk
into the deepest tumah of Mitzrayim that he asked Hashem to give him some further
proof so that he could convince them as well. They unfortunately had lost all faith
in the zekeinim and would certainly not listen to what anyone had to say. It was for
these great skeptics that he said them.
These are the two special words that brought great smiles and joy to the Yidden.