A Donkey with a History – Parashat Shemot

January 4, 2018 at 12:03 AM , ,

“…..Moshe took his wife and sons and mounted them on the donkey….” – Shemot 4:20

״….ויקח משה את אישתו ואת בניו וירכבם על החמור….״ – שמות ד, כ

The Torah specifies the means of transportation that Moshe provided for his family because the donkey they rode wasn’t quite your average donkey. Rather, when he set out on his journey to Egypt, Moshe mounted his family on what the Torah calls, “The Donkey”. In Rashi’s words, “This was the donkey that Avraham saddled to travel to the Akeida of Yitzchak; Moshiach is destined to appear upon it as well.”

Chancing upon this miraculous donkey conveyed an important message to Moshe. For seven days, G-d implored Moshe to accept the mission of redeeming the Jewish people (see Rashi 4:10). Moshe argued that his brother Aharon was older and more suitable than he, and that he did not want to offend Aharon. Additionally, Moshe said, “I know that I am not destined to take them into the Land of Israel and to be their Future Redeemer. You have other messengers—send them!” G-d responded to Moshe’s concerns by causing him to chance upon “The Donkey”.

A Donkey with a History

Firstly, the donkey reminded Moshe that Avraham had good cause for deliberation when G-d instructed him to offer his son Yitzchak as a sacrifice. Yet, “Avraham arose early in the morning, and he saddled his donkey (Beraishis 22:3).” As Rashi comments there, out of love for G-d and eagerness to obey His command, Avraham hastened to saddle the donkey himself, instead of commanding his servants to do so. The donkey thus reminded Moshe of the eagerness and enthusiasm with which one must approach G-d’s instructions. Even if Moshe’s concerns for Aharon seem legitimate, Moshe should emulate Avraham and not hesitate to carry out the mission given to him to redeem the Jewish people.

Finally, Moshe was shown that Moshiach, the future Redeemer, is destined to appear on this donkey as well. This hinted to Moshe that the future Redemption depended on him as well, and will merely be a continuation of the Redemption process that he is beginning.

—Likkutei Sichos vol. 31, pp. 16-18

 

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