In the very beginning of Parshat VaEira, Hashem describes to Moshe that he will send Bnei Yisrael out of Mitzrayim despite the terrible conditions described in Parshat Shemot. Hashem states, “VaEira El Avraham El Yitzchak VeEl Yaakov BeKeil Shakay UShemi Hashem Lo Nodati Lahem,” “I appeared to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, with [the name] ‘Keil Shakay’ and I did not reveal my name ‘Hashem’ to them” (Shemot 6:3).
Rashi make an extremely laconic comment on this Pasuk. He writes, in explaining the word VaEira, “To the Avot.” This comment, when taken at face value, seems superfluous. Anyone with basic knowledge of Chumash knows that Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, mentioned in the Pasuk that Rashi comments on, are the Avot. What does Rashi mean in this brief comment?
The Chatam Sofer offers a unique explanation of Rashi’s ambiguity. He says that when Rashi said “To the Avot,” he referred to the root word meaning “agree” or “want” (see Devarim 29:19), not to the forefathers. Thus, Hashem is promising Moshe that He will help him even though the Jews are succumbing to harsh conditions and it seems to them that Hashem will not help, just like He helped the forefathers, if Moshe yearns for Him to appear.
Rambam’s comments on an earlier Pasuk (Shemot 3:17) reiterate this theme. In response to Moshe’s attempt to back out of leading Bnei Yisrael out of Mitzrayim, Hashem says, “Eh-yeh Asheir Eh-yeh,” literally “I will be as I will be.” This phrase is utterly unspecific and the Meforshim present various interpretations. The Rambam explains that Hashem is with all those who want Him to be with them. Hashem told Moshe from the outset that He will be with all those who trust in Him, and he repeated this idea when Bnei Yisrael were beginning to forget about Hashem’s promise, as Rashi teaches in his comment to the word VaEira.
The same idea is repeated later in Tanach. Where the Pasuk states “Baruch HaGever Asheir Yivtach BaHashem VeHaya Hashem Mivtacho” (Yirmiyahu 17:7), “Blessed is the person who trusts in Hashem and Hashem is his source of trust.” This Pasuk can be explained in several ways. Rav Moshe Luzzato, in his magnum opus Mesilat Yesharim (Shaar HaBitachon), uses this Pasuk to support the idea that a person who trusts in Hashem is also rewarded for not believing in Avodah Zara. However, an alternate approach to this Pasuk is the way the Chatam Sofer explained Rashi in VaEira. The phrase “And Hashem is the source of his trust” could mean that Hashem is with those who trust in Him. Because a person trusts in Hashem, Hashem is with him in the future as a source of trust.
We all must take this idea to heart and use it as a source of inspiration. In our mundane lives, it is hard to trust Hashem in everything we do. We have so many tasks which distract us from our ultimate goal. It is very easy to fall into the trap of attributing all of our successes to ourselves rather than Hashem. We must keep Rashi’s message in mind and strengthen out trust in Hashem so that He will be with us in all of our endeavors.