In this week’s Torah Portion, we begin to learn the story of the of the Jewish Slavery in Egypt. The Torah tells us an interesting story of how Moses was born. The Egyptians had decreed that all the males born to the Jews should be killed. The reason for the decree was that the Egyptian Astrologers told King Pharoh that they see that there is a male that will be born that will save the Jews. When Moses’ mother, Yocheved, gave birth to Moses, she first hid him for three months. She then built a small box and put Moses in the box and placed the box on the bank of the Nile River while Moses’ sister Miriam stood from a distance to watch the box. Just at that time Pharoh’s daughter went to bathe at the Nile and saw the box and she opened it and saw a baby crying. She took a liking to the baby and had mercy on him and convinced her father to allow her to take the child as her son and thus Moses was saved from Pharoh’s decree.
What is the significance of Moses birth being associated with the Nile River? The commentaries tell us that the Egyptians worshipped the Nile as a deity because they were dependent on the Nile. Egypt was a land where it did not rain and their water supply for their fields came through the Nile. The waters of the Nile would rise and flood man-made streams that lead to their fields.
This then is the reason Moses’ birth was associated with the Nile. Moses was to become the first Jewish leader. The role of a Jewish leader is to instill faith in G-d and mitigate the negative forces which conceal this belief. Therefore, at birth he was put into the Nile because being such a holy soul, he mitigated the negative force of the Nile. Thus, Moses began his mission of Leader of the Jewish people from birth.
(Based on the teachings of the Chabad Rebbes)