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Under Pharaoh's Nose

Shmot (Exodus 1:1-6:1 )

by Rabbi Shraga Simmons

Parshat Shmot tells how the baby Moses - floating in a basket in the river - is saved by Pharaoh's daughter, who adopts Moses and takes him to live in Pharaoh's palace.

But right away a problem arises: what to feed the baby. In those days, there was no bottled baby formula, so when the birth mother wasn't available, the caretaker would have to hire a wet nurse. In the case of Moses, he kept refusing to nurse from Egyptian women, until finally Pharaoh's daughter found one woman who Moses agreed to nurse from - Yocheved, Moses' biological mother!

Now we have to appreciate the irony of all this. Pharaoh's murderous decree against Jewish babies was specifically intended to prevent a new generation of Jewish leadership. So what happens instead? Moses, the upcoming great Jewish leader, is raised, educated and trained - right under Pharaoh's nose, in Pharaoh's own home, at Pharaoh's expense! And on top of it all, Moses' mother is getting paid a salary!

There's a deep lesson here for all of us. God has a plan for the world, and we each have a choice: either to partner with God and enjoy the pleasure of doing so, or (like Pharaoh) to go against God and wind up feeling quite foolish.

"Make God's will, your will" the Talmud declares. That's sound advice. Because, as we see with Moses and Pharaoh, either way, God will work things out His way.

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