We live in a crazy world, with up-side-down priorities and almost non-existent values. Not that you need proof of the chaos in the world, but by glancing at the Sports and Entertainment news over the past few years, we have seen:
Golf Superstar ... black guy.
Basketball champion... Chinese man.
#1 rapper... white dude.
A bit topsy-turvy, ya think?
Oh, and then there's the twerking. And the twerker.
But our messed up galaxy isn't such a novelty. The fact that it was messed up 3,300 years ago is what's shocking.
Peaking into the corruption of that period can help us understand its source and solution.
If you pay close attention to the psukim, and if you're not yet immune to strange events, you'll appreciate an interesting discussion between Paraoh and the midwives.
Within those verses, there are a few points which perplexed my brain while reading them.
1. Instead of Paraoh commanding his army to go out and kill all newborn baby boys, as would be the normal course of action, he arises all by his royal self, and approaches Yocheved and Miriam (the midwives) to have them commit to his inhumane demands.
2. Paraoh wastes all his bad breath by teaching unique indications to the midwives, explaining in detail how to differentiate between the boys and the girls. Rashi spells out for us what those signs were: If the baby's head is facing downward, it's a boy, and face up means a girl.
Now, wouldn't anyone with an IQ of 70 be deemed capable of distinguishing between the genders, without helpful tips from His Royal Highness?
3. Yocheved and Miriam's response is a bit weird. They claimed that the situation is out of their control, since the Jewish women are birthing alone, without their assistance. By the time they arrive on the scene, the babies are out.
What kind of reply is that? You don't have to deliver him. As soon as the baby is out, if it's a boy, kill the kid.
4. Throughout the whole dialog, the main character is sometimes called Paraoh, and sometimes melech Mitzraim, the king of Egypt. Is that something significant, or at some point they just forgot his name?
The Torah refers to the king as melech Mitzraim in the beginning of the story since he was trying to act in the manner of a king. He had to be fair and just and honest. If he indicated that a new law in progress was going to be cruel or unfair, he worried that the people would revolt. So, approaching the midwives personally as opposed to delegating the job to the army, was his attempt at portraying some semblance of law.
He was covering up his evil scheme in a mantel of justice:
"There are too many people in Egypt. We can't feed so many mouths. We don't have enough mummy garb to go around."
He would never explicitly command killing them once they're already born, so he suggested, for demographic purposes, to murder them before they're actually born.
In more contemporary words, he isn't killing any baby boys; he's commanding forced abortions! He them taught them the head signals (faced up or down) so that before the baby's officially born, if they see it's a boy, they kill him.
Paraoh was the first Pro Choice activist.
Roe vs. Wade vs. Paraoh.
At this point, the midwives start referring to him as Paraoh. With this one simple word, an entire conversation took place, indirectly:
"You think you'll fool us? You're no melech Mitzraim. You're Paraoh the murderer. The rasha. Killing the kid before he's born is no different than killing him after. Today you're slaying them in utero.... but tomorrow you'll be slaughtering them alive."
Which is exactly what happened.
By the way, there was no one more appropriate to give Paraoh that mussar shmooze than Yocheved. She was indicating that she, herself is the proof that a child pre-birth is the same human being as the child after birth.
When the Jews exiled down to Egypt, they were counted as shivim nafesh, 70 people. In reality, there were only 69 people traveling to Egypt. What did they do, round it out to the nearest whole number?
No. Yocheved wasn't born yet, but she was on the way. She was still in the womb, but nonetheless, was counted as a complete human being.
Ever notice how all the people who are pro abortion have already been born?
Paraoh was using a well known strategy to cover up his crime, pretending he was in the right. This game is a tactic many of use to convince ourselves or others that we're doing the right thing when likely, we're not.
What is rationalization?
Rationalization means inventing a good reason/excuse for something, instead of admitting the true reason.
Rationalization is so common, that if we were to stop doing it, the silence would be a foreign language.
We rationalize to others, giving excuses or logical explanations as to why we did or didn't do something, but a lot of rationalizing goes on internally- within ourselves, often without even realizing we're doing it.
Why do we do this?
It's a defense mechanism.
Having difficulty admitting a fault or a wrongdoing, we try to cover it up. A logical sounding reason allows us to hide from the truth without looking or feeling guilty.
Picture for a second, a typical market place with merchants trying to sell their goods. There's one man, in a little booth, selling excuses. "Ladies and gentlemen, excuses for sale! Buy them before they're used. Hot for now, cold for later. Excuses for sale!!"
One of his neighboring merchants turns to him and says, curiously, that he's been watching him sell excuses for 20 years already, but yet he still has no money.
He wanted to know what he's doing wrong.
"That's the way it is with excuses", the merchant said. "Even if people buy them, they never make you rich".
It has been said that success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.
When I'm successful, I take all the credit for it. I own it. But when I fail, I look around for someone or something to blame it on; a traumatic upbringing, bad luck, and unhappy marriage, bad teachers in kindergarten, friends, chavrusas, therapists...- anyone but me.
What's so bad about making excuses?
The only way to improve a situation, or to have any growth at all, is to recognize that I, by myself, am responsible for my situation.
If someone has a temporal problem and is prone to coming late, he can have all the excuses in the world, and people might actually buy them, but they'll never 'make him rich'. He'll never own up, so he will be stunted from improvement and growth.
If we keep blaming others, even if it's legitimate we will never find a solution, and we will forever remain on that level, with that same boring, old weakness.
Even if people excuse us with our rationalizations and we end up fooling them, getting off "free", we can never really get off free. Because our conscience will constantly scold us and make us miserable, since we know it's all just a cover.
We can run but we can't hide.... from ourselves. Face it, admit it, and improve it.
Have a beautiful shabbos,