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From the patriarchs and the matriarchs and all the spiritual giants who are mentioned in the Torah, we learn how to react to life`s challenges, and also how, at times, not to react.
In this week’s parsha, we have a unique opportunity to learn this lesson from the Almighty Himself. In the opening verse, it says, "And G-d spoke to Moshe and said to him, I am HaShem. (Exodus, 6:2) In English, there is not much difference between the word "spoke" and "said", but in Hebrew, there is a world of difference between the words. The word "vayidaber" (spoke) connotes harsh language, while the word "vayomer" (said) reflects gentle speech.
The Almighty was upset with Moshe because, in the previous parsha, he questioned G-d and asked, "My L-rd, why have You done evil to this nation?" (Exodus 5:22). While Moses was prepared to accept his own trials and tribulations, he could not bear to see the suffering of his people. What he found most agonizing was that, from the moment he called for their redemption, their plight worsened. Pharaoh, in his madness, intensified their work load and life became unbearable. It was for this that Moses called out unto G-d.
But the darkness is most intense before the dawn -- this pain was a necessary prelude to redemption, and even as medicine cannot be described as evil, so this suffering could not be termed evil…bitter, yes, painful, yes, but not evil. To bring this point home, G-d used severe language (vayidaber) with Moses, but once that point was made, He immediately reverted to the gentle, soft, "Vayomer".
This lesson in communication has left a profound imprint upon the souls of our people. In our relationships, in our teaching methods, in our admonishments, we have always been cautioned to be on guard not to impart an impression of rejection. Thus, our sages in the Talmud teach, "With the left hand, you push away (the left being the weaker hand is used to rebuke) and with the right (the stronger hand) you immediately draw the person near.” It is crucial that this "drawing near" follow immediately, so that no time elapses during which the rebuked person might feel that he has been rejected. The lesson is obvious -- admonishment and criticism should always be followed by comforting words so that the person may realize that your intention was only to help, and not, heaven forbid, to hurt or put down.