We read (2:11):’It happened in those days that Moshe grew up and went out to his brethren and he looked at their burden’.
Had we not already- in the preceding passuk- read that
Moshe ‘grew up’? Why did the Torah repeat this, in our, the very next passuk?
Answers Rabbi Yehuda ben Rabbi Ilai- as brought by Rashi-‘The first ‘growth’ was in height; the second was in greatness, because Pharoah appointed him over his house’.
The Malbim expounds:’Moshe’s actions In going out to his down-trodden brethren, were the opposite of the natural ways of men, who, when elevated to greatness, distance themselves from the lowly and the poor’.
Not only did Moshe go out to his brethren, but, as we read, he ‘looked at their burden’.
Comments Rashi:’He directed his eyes and his heart to be distressed over them’.
Rav Ahron Kotler adds:’He ‘felt’ their suffering, as if it was his own.
‘We find this attribute, to be נושא בעול עם חברו: ‘sharing the burden of somebody else’(Avot 6:11), in the later actions of Moshe Rabenu.
‘When Bnei Israel, were under attack by Amalek, the Torah relates (Beshalach 17:12):’The hands of Moshe grew heavy, so they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it’. Ask our Sages(Ta’anit 11.):’Why a stone? ‘
Didn’t Moshe have one pillow or one cushion to sit on?
‘Said Moshe:Since my people are בצער: suffering, so too, I will be with them בצער: in suffering’.
Adds the Rav: ’In ‘sharing’ in the צער of the community, we are fulfilling the injunction ‘to go in the ways of Hashem’.
‘The Midrash says:’Like these twins- when one has a pain in his head, the other one also feels it. Said Hashem to Moshe:’Do you not know that I am בצער, just as Bnei Israel are? Know this from the place from which I am speaking to you- from the bush of thorns.
‘Therefore, if one does not share the צער of his people, he is also not sharing the צער of Hashem, and is thereby guilty of חילול ה׳!’.
Rav Matityahu Solomon adds:’Before relating that Hashem spoke to Moshe Rabenu from the burning bush, the Torah first related at length, Moshe’s exemplary attribute of ‘sharing in the burden’ of his people, as an ‘explanation’ as to why Hashem then spoke to Moshe Rabenu.
‘How intriguing it is that of all that occurred in Moshe’s life, in the eighty years till he stood before Pharoah, the Torah saw fit only to relate that he rose to greatness in Pharoah’s palace, and, after seeing the plight of his people, felt compelled to ‘share their burden’!
‘It seems that the Torah deemed fit to relate THESE events, to teach us that ‘to bear your fellow man’s burden’, is כל האדם: ‘all of man’, and one who has this attribute, surely also has all the other necessary attributes’.
Rav Chaim Friedlander offers the following beautiful insight:’In its purest form, to ‘share the burden of someone else’, means to give your very self, as we shall explain, to the other in his time of need.
By his nature, man is always self-centered; even when he is doing חסד for another person, he has in mind the benefit to himself, from so doing.
‘To truly ‘bear the burden of another’, we must first cleanse ourselves of any זיקה: hold of אנוכיות: of ‘self’.’
‘In the events related in our parasha, the Torah teaches that, though Moshe rose to greatness in the palace of Pharoah, far removed from any troubles, when the natural inclination of people in such a position, is ‘not to see’ the suffering of others, Moshe Rabenu left the palace ‘to see’ and to be part of his suffering people.
‘The first step of ‘bearing the burden etc’, is to ‘see’- and to share-the straits of others. We normally only ‘see’ our own needs and good.
‘To ‘share ‘ is the opposite of אנוכיות:’self’, as we, by nature, run away from others who may be in trouble, to ‘avoid’ looking at their predicament, lest it ‘infect’ us.
‘Not only did Moshe Rabenu ‘see’ the suffering of his brethren, but, say our Sages, he cried over them, saying:’Would that it was me, instead of them, who was being afflicted!’.
‘So ‘connected’ was he to his brethren, that he felt that HIS life was not worth living, because of their suffering.
‘Let us note that there were some three million of his brethren who were enslaved, and he could so easily have assuaged his conscience, and said:’Whatever I do, makes so little difference to their suffering, there is no point in my efforts’.
‘However, as a large part of the pain of the afflicted is the feeling that they are all alone, and that no-one seems to care, the ‘sharing’ shown by Moshe Rabenu, greatly lifted the morale of his brethren, and eased their suffering.
‘The Midrash vividly captures our message:’Said Hashem to Moshe:’ You left your ‘affairs’, your private concerns, your אנוכיות: your ‘self-concern’, to see and share the concerns of your brethren, ‘I too will leave my Heavenly abode, to speak to you’.
‘Our Sages expounded the words (3:4):וירא ה׳ כי סר לראות: ‘Hashem saw that he had turned from his way’, not in the literal sense of coming closer to see, but as ‘he turned away from himself’, from where? from the palace, to ‘see’ his suffering brethren.
‘He thereby merited that Hashem ‘turn to him’, and speak to him, from the burning bush.
‘’To turn away’ from ‘your affairs’, from your focus on your self, to see and, more importantly, ‘share the burden’ of others, is the peak of human attributes, as it is the opposite of human nature’.
A parting thought from Rav Friedlander:’True, the ways of Moshe Rabenu may well be beyond us; however, even at our level we can daily ‘bear the burden of others’.
‘The first condition is to free ourselves from the ‘shackles’ of אני: ‘I’, and to look at others through their eyes, as they themselves see, and feel, their situation, and to wholeheartedly wish to help.
‘This need not be in material ways, nor in grand gestures. Your obvious care for another in difficulty, by word, by a smile, or by gesture, is, in itself, ‘sharing his burden’’.
לרפואת נועם עליזה בת זהבה רבקה ונחום אלימלך רפאל בן זהבה רבקה, בתוך שאר חולי עמנו.