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    Good News in Times of Bad

    In Shemos 6:9 Moshe told Bnei Yisroel that they would be redeemed, but they did not listen to him due to their shortness of breath and hard work. The obvious question arises; is there a person who hears good news while he is in dire straits and is not happy? There are a number of answers that may be given to this question. The first answer is based on the Ramban who explained that Bnei Yisroel were fearful that if they would listen to Moshe, Pharaoh would kill them since the police in charge of making them work would tell Pharaoh. The hard work mentioned in the posuk was actually an attempt by the policemen to dampen the excitement of Bnei Yisroel upon hearing Moshe’s good news.

    The second answer is based on the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh who says that since Bnei Yisroel were not bnei Torah they could not listen. That is the reason they had shortness of breath since you need the Torah to be “marchiv” (broaden) the person. Based on this tirutz, he explains the Kal Vachomer that if Bnei Yisroel did not listen, how could Pharaoh listen? The answer should be obvious that Pharaoh was not working. However, based on what he explained concerning one who is missing Torah is missing harchovas hadaas, Pharaoh definitely lacked Torah and therefore would not be able to listen to Moshe.

    The third tirutz is based on the Mechilta that says Bnei Yisroel had a very difficult time separating from Avoda Zora. That is what the posuk is referring to when it says that Moshe commanded Bnei Yisroel. The Torah does not specify what he commanded, but the commandment was for them to separate from Avoda Zora and they had such a difficult time with that. The Kal Vachomer Moshe used therefore makes a lot of sense; that Pharaoh who served Avoda Zora for sure would not listen to Moshe.

    The fourth tirutz is based on the Pesikta that says Bnei Yisroel believed that there would be a geula, but only after a long time of them continuing with their hard labor. The word kotzer has the numerical value of 130, which together with the 210 years would total the 430 years Hashem promised. Since Bnei Yisroel felt it was far away and would require so much hard labor, they could not enjoy this news.

    The fifth tirutz is based on the Ohr Sameach I Meshech Chochma that says Bnei Yisroel were not interested in promises that will take place in the future, therefore Hashem rephrased it that Moshe should just tell them that they will leave Mitzrayim in the near future. This they were able to listen to.

    The sixth and final tirutz is based on Rashi that says in order to console someone one must do so little by little. If a person tells a man who is collecting money for himself that tomorrow he will be king, it would seem too farfetched to accept. That is why the Torah explains that Bnei Yisroel did not listen to Moshe; because of their hard labor and shortness of breath. They were on such a low level that anything being promised to them seemed to be preposterous.

    May we be zocheh to rise to the level that anything Hashem promises us should be within our reach and we should be able to conceptualize it.