Jewish Soul Journey

PARSHAS YISRO – GROWTH THROUGH TORAH

                Gershom the son of Moshe was
given this name because his father said ‘I was a sojourner in a strange land.’
This is a message for all of us in our journey during this life. We need to
know that we are  souls not bodies and
should never feel overly attached or bound to anything which is physical or
temporal. At the same time we need to realize that we our helpless to achieve
this goal without help therefore the other son of Moshe was named Eliezer which
the pasuk tells us means: “The G-d of my father came to my aid, and he saved me
from the sword of Pharaoh.” These pasukim can help to enlighten our own
personal lives through teaching us it is not enough even to know and strive for
the truth but we also need assistance in achieving it. Yes, we need to make the
effort as seen in the name Gershom which contains the root letters of to
divorce or  separate oneself from
undesirable lifestyles, but the true salvation comes through turning sincerely
to Hashem who will surely save us. It is that act of self nullification and
selflessness that allowed Moshe Rabbinu to become the great leader yet
remaining humble of spirit.

                 Let us explore another point
that will aid us in our personal service with Hashem. We mentioned that the
name of Moshe’s firstborn son, Gershom, 
and reason for giving it was stated in 2: 22. The Or HaChaim answers the
question why he named this child Gershom – which means: ‘ I have been a
stranger in a foreign land’ and the second Eliezer – which means:  Hashem helps- since the help from Hashem to
allow Moshe to escape Pharaoh took place before Moshe’s exile with this beautiful
idea. Like all righteous people who desire and yearn for closeness to G-d,
Moshe felt like a stranger on earth his whole life.

               By the briss of the second son,
Eliezer, in pusack 4: 25 there is no mention of his name. Only when Yisro brings
his daughter, Moshe’s wife and her two sons to join Moshe in the desert does
the Torah mention the name of the second son and the reason for this name (
Yisro 18: 1 – 8). Why the delay in announcing this name till here?

           Perhaps the reason that Eliezer is
not mentioned by name till now is to teach us that often during one’s personal
feeling of galus (exile or trials) it isn’t yet apparent the help and salvation
that is being offered to us from Hashem. We tend to focus on and view life from
the Gershom perspective – that being feeling like a stranger and almost
abandoned. Although this is not the true prospective as every exile and test is
perfectly fitted to help us achieve new levels of awareness and closeness with
Hashem if we are not exceedingly careful we could fall into this trap of
feeling like distant and not yet strengthened in Hashem salvation. The Torah
now revealing the name of the second son, Eliezer, to teach us a profound
observation into reality. Only now that the Torah was given will each
individual irregardless of their spiritual level have the ability to constantly
see the help of Hashem even within the midst of exile and tests.

           As we emerge from our personal
Mitzraims (narrowness) and journey toward the eternal goals in the proper
service of Hashem, then is more and more revealed that portion of understanding
and clarity that is expressed through the name Eliezer – that being that it was
and will always be the G-d of my father that 
comes to my aid’. May we merit closeness and awareness of Hashem at all
times.

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