Classics and Beyond Va’eira — Separate but Equal:

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    Va’eira — Separate but Equal:

    הוא אהרן ומשה אשר אמר ה’ להם הוציאו את בני ישראל מארץ מצרים על צבאתם: הם
    המדברים אל פרעה מלך מצרים להוציא את בני ישראל ממצרים הוא משה ואהרן

    That is Aharon and Moshe, to whom Hashem said, “Take the Children of Israel out of the land of Egypt with their legions.” They are the ones who spoke to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to let the Children of Israel out of Egypt; they are Moshe and Aharon (Shemos 6:26–27).
    Rashi tells us that there are times when Aharon’s name comes first and there are times when Moshe’s name comes first, to teach us that they were equal.
    One of the thirteen fundamental principles of our faith is that the prophecy of Moshe has never, nor will ever, be equaled. How, then, can Aharon be described as Moshe’s equal?
    The Maskil LeDavid gives one explanation. At this point, prior to Matan Torah, they were of equal importance. Only following Matan Torah, where Moshe was alone for forty days and nights with the Shechinah, did he become elevated above his brother Aharon.
    But there is another possible answer. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Some people are vastly superior to others in many regards. The trick is not to let one’s abilities or accomplishments go to one’s head or to allow them to foster a feeling of superiority over others.
    One way to avoid this trap is by reflecting on what other people have over me. Even if I may be better than a given person in one respect, I can almost always find some strong point where he is better than I. Weighing my shortcomings vis-à-vis my friend’s strong points is a way to keep my ego in check.
    Moshe was greater than Aharon in prophecy, his ability to speak with Hashem. He was rabban shel kol haneviim — the chief of all prophets. Aharon, on the other hand, was greater than Moshe in his ability to speak and communicate clearly.
    When Moshe prophesied, he would think of Aharon, who had better communication skills. When Aharon would speak on Hashem’s behalf to Pharaoh, he would ruminate over the greatness of his brother in nevuah. This allowed them to acknowledge their respective strong suits, yet not think they were greater than the other.
    The sefer Kanfei Nesharim suggests that the Midrash in Shir HaShirim Rabbah (4) bears this out. In discussing the point that Moshe and Aharon were equals, the Midrash says, “Lo Moshe gadol mei’Aharon ve’lo Aharon gadol mi’Moshe — Moshe was not greater than Aharon, and Aharon was not greater than Moshe.”
    The Midrash can be read in the following manner: Moshe was not greater “mei’Aharon — from Aharon”; Aharon was not greater “mi’Moshe — from Moshe.” The reason that Moshe was not greater — he did not feel superior –was from Aharon: from the fact that he looked at his older brother and saw that he was, in some respects, greater than himself. And the reason that Aharon was not greater — he did not see himself as superior — was from Moshe: from seeing that Moshe was a greater navi than he.
    This idea connects with what appears as an inconsistency in the two pesukim we are discussing. The central figure in bringing about the geulah from Egypt was Moshe. Hashem spoke and charged him with the mission. One would expect that the pasuk dealing with this would feature Moshe before Aharon. Along the same lines, in the pasuk detailing the role of spokesman to Pharaoh, one would expect Aharon’s name to precede Moshe’s. Yet, viewing these pesukim (6:26–27), we see that the very opposite is the case.
    The Kanfei Nesharim explains that when Aharon’s name is written first, indicating that he was the more prominent of the two, the pasuk describes Moshe’s strong point and central role. This is because in the back of Aharon’s mind was the thought that Moshe was the navi of Hashem and the one taking the Yidden out of Mitzrayim, and that Moshe was superior to him in certain ways. And even when Moshe is mentioned first, implying his prominence, there is the mention of the vital and unique role of Aharon as the spokesman, for Moshe was cognizant of this, as well.
    Rav Yehudah Leib Ginsberg of Denver, in his sefer, Yalkut Yehudah, has the opposite take on the same issue. He writes that in order for the Jews to leave Egypt, two things had to be accomplished.
    First, Bnei Yisrael had to be convinced to leave. This was vital, for we know that eighty percent of the Yidden chose not to, and actually died during the Plague of Darkness. For this role, Aharon was better suited than Moshe. He was the “man of the people,” the “oheiv shalom ve’rodeif shalom — the one who loved peace and pursued peace” (Avos 1:12). His death was harder on the people than Moshe’s; they mourned Aharon’s passing for thirty days and Moshe’s for only seven.
    Second, Pharaoh had to be convinced to allow the Jews to go. For this, Moshe was better suited. Pharaoh would not be convinced by the mere words of Aharon. He needed to be humbled by the effect of the Makkos. It was the power of Hashem, represented by Moshe, which would sway him.
    Moshe and Aharon each had his area of expertise. In the earlier pasuk, which mentions taking the Jews out, we find Aharon’s name before Moshe’s, since Aharon was the key figure in convincing the Jews to leave. In the second pasuk, which features Pharaoh being convinced to let Bnei Yisrael go, we find Moshe’s name before Aharon, as Moshe was the key player in that role.
    In that sense, they were the same and therefore equal.

    Reb Eliezer

    On separate but equal, the Chasan Sofer on the Hagadah where ilu ‘hen’ is unnecessary explains that os ‘heh’ and ‘nun’ have no partner. Aleph goes with teis to add up to ten and yud and tzadik adds up to a hundred.
    The makus where not related to each other such that one brings the other. Blood make the frogs escape.
    hen am levadad yishkon, the Bnei Yisroel are unique, dwell by their own, lonely, they are not counted among goyim.

    Reb Eliezer

    Separate but not equal. The Maasei Hashem on the Hagadah (dovor achar) explains that Rebbi Yehudah gives us the simonim, detzach, adash, beachav to indicate that the makkos started away from Pharaoh then affecting his money and body to give him an opportunity to do teshuva.

    Reb Eliezer

    The Avos were also separate but equal. The Ksav Sofer explains that we find tbem listed in reverse, remembering the covenant of Yaakov, the covenant of Yitzchok and covenant of Avraham in order to teach us that Yaakov and Yitzchak were great on their own and not because of their fathers. Rashi says וארא – אל האבות, I revealed myself to the ancestors. Maybe the Baal Haturim says in Parashas Voeschanan that veohavta in krias shema are the same letters as haavos, ואהבת – האבות. Love Hashem with all your heart like Avraham, whom You found trustworthy in his heart, with all your soul, like Yitchak, who sacrificed himself with his soul, and with all your wealth, like Yaakov who promised to tite all his wealth. Teaching us tbe great love that our ancestors had to Hashem and they not questiion His promises.

    Reb Eliezer

    Should be above they did not question His promises.

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