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The Slain Side

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 14/1/2020

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The Slain Side

At times, we feel a struggle within us as we have that which pulls us to the secular side and that which pulls us towards Hashem. We must sever that secular side and serve Hashem exclusively. The Pasuk statesויפן כה וכה וירא כי אין איש ויך את המצרי, Moshe turned to both directions and saw there was no man so he killed the Egyptian.[1] Moshe grew up in Egyptian aristocracy. He thus had an Egyptian side to him in addition to his Jewish side. Accordingly, it can be understood that Moshe turned here and there—to his Jewish side and Egyptian side. וירא כי אין איש—he realized that is not a man as that is a contradiction. So ויך את המצרי[2]—he killed his Egyptian side.[3]


Many have become a Baal Teshuva because they realized this hypocritical behavior within themselves.[4] Approximately 25 years ago, in Los Angeles, a secular Jew was on his way to a concert with his non-Jewish girlfriend. When the crossing guard at the traffic light consistently allowed people to cross the street while he waited at the traffic light numerous times although he had a green light, he complained. The guard told him he was instructed that when the Jews come to the traffic light, he should allow them to cross the street since today is Yom Kippur. He then thought to himself and decided to cancel his concert plans and go to synagogue for Yom Kippur. He then drove his girlfriend home. Today he is the father of a religious family in addition to being the Gabai of a shul. 

Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

[1] Shemos 2:12. Rashi (2:14) says that Dasan and Aviram informed on Moshe killing the Egyptian. With this we can comprehend a new meaning in ואד יעלה מן הארץ (Breishis 2:6) as אד are the initials of דתן, אבירם who were יעלה מן הארץ as they publicized the news of the Egyptian being killed who was buried in the ground.

[2] In this way we can grasp שלא עשני גוי (Birchas Hashachar): We are asking Hashem that we shouldn’t be like a גוי.

[3] We are taught that 80% of the Jews died in the plague of darkness (Shemos 13:18, Rashi). One interpretation of this is that they died spiritually since they assimilated, but not actual death. The darkness refers to spiritual darkness.

[4] It has been jokingly said that if a hypocrite is what separates you from Hashem (as this is some people’s excuse for being non-observant), then the hypocrite is closer to Hashem than you are.

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