Partner in Pain
When Paroh’s daughter opened
the basket and saw Moshe it says והנה נער בכה, behold, a youth was
crying—referring to Moshe.
questions these words והנה נער בכה, since the Torah called him a child (ילד)
which could mean an infant and then it calls him a youth implying an older
person. The Gemara explains הוא ילד וקולו כנער, he was an infant but his voice was like
that a youth (i.e. much deeper). R’ Meir Shapiro gave the following
explanation: People cry, whether they are babies or adults. What is the
difference between a baby crying and a mature person crying? A baby cries for selfish
reasons—because he is hungry, needs a diaper change and the like. A baby is
unable to cry for others, in contrast to a mature person. הוא ילד וקולו כנער means that although he was a child, his voice was like that of
one who was older. That is to say, although he was saved by Basya, he still
felt the pain of his brethren in the enslavement.
This is why he was crying!
R’ Hanoch Teller writes a
story he personally witnessed regarding a young man, Jamie, who had recently
become Torah observant and went to immerse in a busy Mikva in Yerushalayim. As
he walked towards the Mikva, he held his hands over his arms, attempting to
cover his tattoos. As he stepped into the Mikva, he slipped and the tattoos
that lined his biceps were now exposed for all to see. At an earlier time,
Jamie had viewed his tattoos with pride, but that afternoon he felt
humiliation. An elderly Jew stepped forward and in a heavily accented English
declared, “Look here, I also have a tattoo.” Stretching out his frail arm, the
man pointed to the row of numbers tattooed on his arm. “It seems we have both
come a long way.”
Moshe told Yisro כי יהיה להם דבר בא אלי, when the people have a matter, one comes
to him and he (Moshe) judges between the two people…
The wording is inconsistent as it begins in the plural—להם—and then continues in the singular—בא אלי. Why doesn’t it say באים אלי, in the plural, just as
it began in the plural? The Chassan Sofer
(1835-1883) explains that when someone came to Moshe with a problem it became
Moshe’s problem, since he cared
and felt their pain.
So, people came to Moshe with their issues (כי יהיה
להם דבר) and
then בא אלי, the issues became Moshe’s. אלי refers to Moshe, not the
ones who came to him. Consequently, it is in the singular.
R’ Zeira was asked במה הארכת ימים, with what did you merit longevity. Among what he mentioned was
לא ששתי בתקלת חבירי, I didn’t rejoice when my friend stumbled.
What is the novelty of this, since this is basic decency? R’ Yitzchak Vorka
(1779-1848) explains it in a different light: I couldn’t be happy with my
Simcha while my friend was going through a difficult time.
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 and is the author of the Sefer, Fascinating Insights: Torah
Perspectives On Unique Topics. His writings inspire people across the spectrum
of Jewish observance to live with the vibrancy and beauty of Torah. 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
He was introduced to the
world of Chassidus by his father. He became a devoted Chassid of R’ Dovid
Lelover, the Chozeh of Lublin, and R’ Simcha Bunim of Pshischa. R’ Dovid
Lelover would travel with him to the courts of Tzadikim which is how he became
a student of the Chozeh and R’ Simcha Bunim. After the death of R’ Simcha
Bunim, he chose the Kotzker Rebbe as his mentor, becoming the Kotzker's
closest friend and disciple, together with R’ Yitzchak Meir of Ger (known as
the Chidushei Harim) and R’ Chanoch of Alexander. Among the Vorker Rebbe's
students, there are known to have been 114 leading Chassidic Rebbes. His Torah
thoughts and anecdotes about his life were collected in a Sefer entitled Ohel
Yitzchak. R’ Yitzchak Vorka’s son was the founder of Amshinov Chassidus.