Tiferet Rafael
9665 W. Broward Blvd
Plantation, FL 33324


Dear Congregants,

Our Parashah begins with Yitro, the father in law of Moshe Rabbenu, hearing about the great miracles that Hashem performed for Bene Yisrael upon their exodus from Egypt. Yitro then decides to take Moshe’s wife, Sipporah and his 2 children and join Moshe and the Jewish people in the desert. The verse states that Moshe’s eldest child is named Gershom, symbolizing that he was a stranger in a strange land(“Ki Ger Hayiti Be’eres Nochriyah”). His second son was named Eliezer, symbolizing that the G-d of his father is at his aid and he saved him from the sword of Par’oh.(“Ki Eloke Avi Be’ezri, Va’yasileni Meherev Par’oh”).

The Hafes Hayim comments that the names of Moshe’s children seem to be out of order. Chronologically, Moshe was first saved from Par’oh’s sword and then he became a stranger in a strange land(Midyan). Why wasn’t the first son named Eliezer? The Hafes Hayim answers that when Moshe arrived in Midyan, Yitro had not yet converted and his actions were still not commendable. Moshe was concerned that he might learn from his father in law’s actions. Therefore, Moshe called his eldest son Gershom, in order to have a constant reminder that this is not his place and these are not his people. It was crucial to Moshe to avoid being influenced by gentile society. Therefore, Moshe called his son a name who’s sole purpose was to remind him that he is a stranger.

We too, should remember that we are in a strange land. Our land is Israel. Our people are the Jewish people. Some of us have become very comfortable in exile. We are picking up negative things from the Goyim. Our children idolize sports stars and movie actors. Many of the so called “role models” are from the dregs of society. We forget that we are a “kingdom of Priests”(“Mamlechet Kohanim”) and that we are meant to be the “light unto the nations”(“Or Lagoyim”). We are supposed to be an example to society of humanity and morality. If only we understood that we are special; If only we knew that we are princes and princesses forced from our kingdom, which is Israel, to live among commoners; If only we were aware that we are meant to be the trendsetters and not the followers; If only we were cognizant of  our great intrinsic worth and that of every Jew, then, perhaps this would speed  up the final redemtion. May we merit to see the coming of the Mashiah and may all the Jewish people be reunited in our true home, Eres Yisrael, speedily, in our days Amen.

Have a Shabbat Shalom.