By Rabbi Y. Dov Krakowski
Hashem tells Moshe Rabeinu to tell Klal-Yisroel that Hashem was going to redeem them in the most awesome and marvelous manner. When Moshe Rabeinu does so, Klal-Yisroel doesn’t listen. Hashem then instructs Moshe Rabeinu to go before Paroh and demand that that the Egyptian Monarch send Klal-Yisroel out of Egypt. Moshe Rabeinu begins to “argue” with Hashem and asks: Klal-Yisroel didn’t listen to me; wouldn’t logic dictate that if Klal-Yisroel refuses to listen to me, Paroh will then most certainly not listen to me? Moshe Rabeinu appears the epitome of audacity – Hashem tells him something and he has the audacity to argue blatantly! Yet Moshe Rabeinu was one of Klal-Yisroel’s greatest leaders and he is characterized as being עניו מכל אדם – the humblest of people?
Rashi comments on Moshe Rabeinu’s argument to Hashem (if Klal-Yisroel didn’t listen then how could it be that Paroh should listen etc.): “this is one of ten Kal Vechomers that are brought down in the Torah”. A Kal-Vechomer is a very important principle to us – it is one of the fundamental tools used by Chazal to derive numerous Halachos from scripture. Moshe Rabeinu’s argument seems to be used as an example for this scholarly and important tool.
The Rambam in Yesodei HaTorah (Chapter 1 Mishna 9) explains that when Moshe Rabeinu asked Hashem to show him His (Hashem’s) glory he wasn’t asking because he was curious, but rather in order to understand and differentiate between Hashem’s omnipotence and all else. The Rambam explains that it was having clarity so as not to err that was important to Moshe Rabeinu.
When Hashem told Moshe Rabeinu something that didn’t seem to make sense Moshe Rabeinu yearned to understand – that was Moshe Rabeinu’s instinct, his natural impulse. Moshe Rabeinu utilized the deductive power of a Kal-Vechomer. We likewise utilize (through Chazal) this deductive power of a Kal-Vechomer to understand our Holy Torah and its laws. Not because we challenge our Torah, but because it’s important to us.
We must all on some level question what we learn – not Chas VeShalom to challenge it, but rather to yearn to understand it.
A very warm Good Shabbos, Rabbi Y. Dov Krakowski