This week's Parsha, Parshat Shemot, discusses how our ancestors were enslaved by Pharaoh, and the harsh decrees that he decreed on them. The most significant decree was that all Jewish boys should be drowned in the Nile. As a result, we see Amram and Yochevad send their infant son in a wicker basket down the Nile to protect him from this death. After travelling down the river for some time this infant boy was rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter, Batya. Batya named the boy Moshe, and she sent her maid servant to get a wet nurse to feed and raise Moshe. It just so happened that the wet nurse that Batya’s servant brought was Yochevad, Moshe’s biological mother. It was during those first few years that Yochevad instilled in Moshe the values of Judaism. Even during his time in the palace, a place where anti- semitism was widely common, Moshe kept the values that his mother taught him. After several years, Moshe left the palace confines to walk among the Jews and witness their hardship. One day Moshe saw an Egyptian beating a Jew. Although this Jewish man was presumably not known to Moshe, Moshe put his life in danger to stand up for his fellow Jew, and he killed the Egyptian. I believe that the morals that Moshe demonstrated in standing up for this Jew, a complete stranger, teach us an important lesson.
We Jews are the longest lasting nation, of the ancient world. The Egyptians who made us slaves are now gone, the Persians who conquered the world are now gone, the Greeks who were so big are gone, and the Romans who used to be so mighty are now gone. However, the Jews are still here. It is hard to comprehend how all those mighty nations are no more, but the Jews are still here. I would like to suggest that it is because we were able to stick together and remain close while the other nations fractured and fell apart. One way in which the Jews keep so close is by looking out for each other. Giving money to those in need even when we might not have so much ourselves. Giving food to those who need it, in times of hardships, and standing up for each other even when no one else does so. These are just some examples of our solidarity. It is amazing how what Moshe demonstrated to us thousands of years ago in Egypt, always looking out for and sticking up for your fellow Jew, is still important to us now and has helped keep us alive as a nation.
Tenth Grade Student