Before and After by Ben Krinsky


In this week’s Parsha, the Torah lists the genealogy of the family of Moshe and Aharon.  Towards the end of the listing, the Torah says (6:26), “Hu Moshe VeAharon Asher Amar Hashem Lahem Hotziu et Bnei Yisrael,” “These are the same Moshe and Aharon that Hashem commanded to them, ‘Take out Bnei Yisrael!’”  We then read in 6:27 that “Heim Hamedabrim El Pharaoh Melech Mitzrayim, Hu Moshe VeAharon,” “They are the ones who spoke to Pharaoh the king of Egypt, they are Moshe and Aharon.”

At first glance, these Pesukim seem to be saying the same thing.  However, a more careful look at the language shows that they are actually two sides of the coin.  The first Pasuk is the command from Hashem to bring the Jews out of Egypt, “Take out Bnei Yisrael!”  The second Pasuk describes the fulfillment of this command, in which they “spoke to Pharaoh.”

There is one more question we can ask.  In the first Pasuk, Aharon’s name appears before Moshe’s, but in the second they are reversed.  What is the meaning of this switch?  Rabbeinu Bachya suggests that the change shows that Aharon was greater than Moshe in some respects, while Moshe was greater than Aharon in others.  Aharon was older than Moshe and so deserved greater respect than Moshe, but Moshe was a greater Navi.

Rav Moshe Feinstein (based on Rashi) presents another answer that teaches us a powerful lesson.  He explains that the two names are switched  because they really were equal.  Moshe and Aharon did not necessarily reach the same level, but both exerted themselves to the greatest extent, reached their potential, and accomplished their respective purposes.  Due to this, they were considered equal, and it did not really matter which came first.

We can learn from this that it does not matter what we accomplish as long as we put in our best effort and do whatever we can.  If we achieve this level, we will be considered in the eyes of Hashem to be on the same level as Moshe and Aharon!

Firefighting by Jonathan Bloom

Unstoppable by Ariel Caplan