Thoughts from Kollel KLAL


The passuk states about the two sons of Moshe, “שם האחד גרשם כי אמר גר הייתי בארץ נכריה, the name of one of them was Gershom, since he said, ‘I was a dweller in a foreign land.’” The Ramban explains that Moshe wanted to express his appreciation to Hashem for His kindness and remember it. Moshe mentioned that he started off as a foreigner and afterwards became king over Yisrael. The following passuk states, “ושם האחד אליעזר כי אלהי אבי בעזרי ויצלני מחרב פרעה, and the name of one of them was Eliezer, ‘since the G-d of my father was at my assistance, and He saved me from the sword of Pharaoh.’” Rashi explains that when Dason and Avirom slandered and revealed about what Moshe did to the Mitzri – that he killed him, they wanted to kill Moshe. Miraculously, Pharaoh became mute, so that he shouldn’t be able to command to search for Moshe and insist on killing him. Pharaoh’s assistants became deaf, so that they wouldn’t be able to hear a command to kill him. The executioners became blind, so that they shouldn’t see where Moshe escaped to, when he fled from the platform. Also, Rashi brings b’shem the Midrash Rabah that Moshe’s neck became like a pillar of marble, and they were unable to chop it off.

There is a pressing question: in the sequent of events, Moshe was saved from Pharoah before he fled to Midyon, where he resided as a stranger. If so, why didn’t Moshe call his first son with the name Eliezer?

The Seforno answers that Moshe did not name his first son Eliezer because he was still insecure from the sword of Pharaoh. Pharoah may send out people to search after Moshe throughout the entire world. Only after Pharaoh died, as it states, “וימת מלך מצרים, and the king of Mitzrayim died,” did Moshe feel secure. Moshe called his first son Gershom, since it was not clear that he was safe from the sword of Pharaoh, and only after he felt safe, did he call his second son, Eliezer. The Peirush HaRosh explains further that Moshe was worried while the slanderers who wanted to kill Moshe were still alive. Hashem told Moshe, “כי מתו האנשים המבקשים את נפשך, since the men who wanted to kill you died.” Rashi explains that this refers to Dason and Avirom who lost their possessions, and became poor, which is considered like death. Until that point Moshe was not completely saved. Therefore, until after Pharaoh and those who wanted to kill him, died, he wasn’t completely saved, so he did not call his first son, Eliezer. The Chizkuni adds that the Torah states by Eliezer “ושם האחד, and the name of one of them,” since Eliezer was called because of the first occurrence that happened; Moshe was saved from the sword before he dwelled in a faraway land as a stranger.

HaRav Moshe Feinstein zatzal asks an additional question, what is the significance that Moshe was a dweller in a faraway land? Rav Moshe answers that Moshe called his first son Gershom, to exclude a toshav, a permanent resident. Although he was known to be special, he did not want to become ruler in Midyon because then he won’t be able to serve Hashem. He said, “it is not worth being saved from the sword of Pharoah if I were to become the head of Midyon and not be able to serve Hashem.” Therefore, he called his first son Gershom, and only afterwards did he call his second son Eliezer. Now that I am only like a foreigner in Midyon, it is worth it that Hashem saved me from the sword.

Let us learn from Moshe that our sole purpose in being alive is to serve Hashem.

Leave a Reply