Sounds of silence (Parshot Shmot)

I recently responded to a posting on Facebook concerning the If Not Now movement. Last week, a few members of this group attempted to disrupt a Birthright program during its trip in Israel. Questions were asked about the “occupation” leading to their dismissal from the trip.  Clearly the attempt was to disturb and sow seeds of discontent among the other members of the trip.

I wonder where the passion from this group may be found, when Jews are senselessly murdered.  Just a few weeks ago a 2-day old baby died after being delivered through a c -section.  The baby’s mother, Shira, was shot in a drive by shooting in Ofra.  They voice their hatred against their own people but are eerily silent regarding the atrocities committed by Palestinians upon fellow Jews!

In Parshot Shmot, we learn Moshe is troubled about the behavior of Dasan and Aviram.  These two Hebrew men witnessed the beating of a Hebrew slave by an Egyptian taskmaster as well as his subsequent killing by Moshe to defend the Hebrew. The Torah tells us Moshe’s response to this episode:

אָכֵן נוֹדַע הַדָּבָר. “Surely the thing is known.” Rashi points out Moshe was puzzled why the Hebrews were suffering such a wretched existence as slaves in Egypt.   It was due to the behavior of Dasan and Aviram who reported Moshe to the Egyptian authorities and placed on trial for murder.

Rabbi Avraham Kessler in his book MeKach Tov writes Dasan and Aviram had the courage and strength to report Moshe to the Egyptian authorities but were tongue-tied when a fellow Hebrew was being beaten to an inch of his life! It is this fact that bothered Moshe.  This explanation is far more powerful than Rashi.  Today we have individuals and groups who will constantly side with Israel’s enemies.  When Jews are in danger, facing danger or murdered, one only hears the sound of silence. If Not Now:  it would be advantageous to all if we heard and felt your passion when Jewish blood is spilled. Remember we are all one!

About the Author
Evan S. Shore has lived in Syracuse for thirty years as the Rabbi of Shaarei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse. He received smicha from Rabbi Isaac Elchanon Theological Seminary, a division of Yeshiva University.