Kenneth Cohen

Batya Protects the Savior

The question was asked regarding Batya, the daughter of Pharoah, who saved the life of Moshe, when he was in his basket in the Nile. How could it be that nobody suspected that he was the savior of the Jewish people.

The reason for the decree to kill Jewish baby boys was because Pharoah’s magicians saw that a boy would be born who would take the Jews out of Egypt. How did Batya convince them that Moshe was not the future leader?

The Torah tells us that Batya went to the Nile to bathe. She was accompanied by her female servants. The Midrash fills in the missing information by explaining that these servants were killed by an angel. There would be no one who would tell exactly what Batya did. And the “bathing” that Batya did was actually her ritual dipping in order to convert and become part of Am Yisrael.

She could then make up a story that she found some random Egyptian baby, and her true story was safe. Pharoah did his famous hot coals and diamonds test, just to be sure that this baby was not too intelligent. The angel moved Baby Moshe’s hands to reach for the coals. This saved his life, but left him with a speech impediment.

The Midrashim are very fascinating, and help to fill in information that is not mentioned in the text. In this case, it becomes more clear what a great woman Batya was, and the role she played in bringing about Israel’s salvation.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at