Sunday, January 22, 2006

"Names" (Shmos) descending into Egypt

V'Eileh Shmos Bnei Yisrael haBa'im Mitzrayma - These are the names of Bnei Yisrael coming to Mitzrayim. In Hebrew it would suffice to say "V'Eilah habai'im Mitzrayma..." and list the names without the added word "shmos" - it sounds almost as if the names alone without the people decended to Egypt. How does a name come or go anywhere by itself??? A "shem" is an identity; an identity is formed, is earned, is made by the person through how he/she acts and presents him/herself to others. At times life deals a person circumstances that compel actions that don't necessarily conform to the person's true essence - the "shem" of the person is not consistant with the person's true self. We discussed in previous posts the discrepency between what our eyes tell us is going on in the world around us, the "Yosef" that appears to be the plotting evil viceroy of Egypt, and the true essence of things, the Yehudah that cries out not to be deceived, that everything is really G-d's hand and worthy of praise, and that ultimately draws out Yosef's true identity. At times we see the "sheim" Yosef, when the reality is Yehudah. The true essence of the Jewish nation was never enslaved in Egypt. However, we were blinded to that true essence and focussed on what our eyes were telling us about the reality of our social position, livlihood, and destiny, and we allowed external circumstance to dictate our "sheimos", our external identity, based on the straitjacket of Mitzrayim. (See the Sefas Emes...)

1 comment:

  1. Look at the Sefer Chasidim Siman 246 for an interetsing pshat in "shem goreim".