Parashath Shemoth
A Practical Message From The Torah About Patience

ד  וַתֵּתַצַּב אֲחֹתוֹ, מֵרָחֹק, לְדֵעָה, מַה יֵּעָשֶׂה לוֹ.

"And his sister (Miriam) stood from afar to know what would be done with him (Moses)." Exodus 2:4

The Concept of Reward and Patience

The Torah commands us to emulate the Almighty. Whenever someone transgresses, it is an insult to the Creator. Nevertheless, He (G-D) continues to give the transgressor life and energy. We should work on ourselves to have patience and tolerance towards others. Even if they have greatly insulted us and have not asked for forgiveness, we should not refrain from doing kindness for them (Tomar Dvorah, ch.1) 1

This week's contains a treasure-trove of relevant information about the benefits and rewards of being patient with other human beings. It all starts with Miriam and Moshe.

"And his sister (Miriam) stood from afar to know what would be done with him (Moses)." 2

Rabbeinu Yitzhak Abohav 3 explains that just as a person is punished measure for measure, so too is he rewarded measure for measure. He brings down the following teaching from our Talmud about Miriam's reward for being patient about Moshe's whereabouts:

"Similarly with regard to good. Miriam delayed one hour for the benefit of Moshe, as it is written 'And his sister stood'. (Shemoth 2:4). Therefore, the entire nation of Yisrael waited seven days for her recovery in the Desert, as it is written, 'And the nation did not journey on until Miriam had returned' (Bemidbar 12:15). How can one compare a delay of one hour to a delay of seven days? Abaya said: 'Let us assume that the Mishnah is saying the measure is not dealt for measure in regards to good.' Rava said to him: 'But the Mishnah expressly states, Similarly!'  Instead Rava explained: 'This is the meaning of the Mishnah: Similarly with regard to good, the measure that a person uses is in turn used to measure for him, only the measure for good is always greater than the measure for punishment).' " 4, 5

Is Patience Holy?

From the above verses, it is clear that patience can be both a gift and reward (at the same time). Perhaps a true appreciation of this "patience" can provide clues for dealing with today's high-stress society. Patience may be just the thing we need to enhance our inter-personal relationships in (and out of) our homes. This especially applies to relationships within our own family. This relationship between family and patience can be seen by looking at the gematria* of "and she stood" (Shemoth 2:4) and "by their families" (Bereshith 10:5). Both phrases equal up to 898.

In our Talmud, R. Yitzchak said that the entire verse (about Miriam's Patience) alludes to the Shechinah (Divine Presence). 6 He proves this by showing how different parts of Shemoth 4:2 are alluded to in other passages in the Torah that deal with G-D's Divine Presence. For example: "And She stood (i.e.: waited)" corresponds to "And the L-rd came, and He stood" (1 Samuel 3:1). Thus, R. Yitchak demonstrates through the principle of mjzr shw 7 that patience is considered an attribute of G-D. This makes it is possible for us to realize the verse "Elohim said, 'Let us make (singular verb) man in our image' ."  Just as our G-D is a patient G-D, so should we strive to be a patient people (especially with the ones we love)...

Patience is more than just an excellent way to receive a reward or improve a relationship. Patience is worthy of emulation because it represents an aspect of G-D Himself. Baruk HaShem for the practicality of our Torah.

1 Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Gateway To Happiness, p.308
Shemoth 2:4

The fourteenth century author of one of the greatest classics of Jewish Literature (Menorat Hamaor). Since the book's creation, it has appeared in over 75 different editions and many different languages. It is a window to an enchanting world hitherto accessible only to Talmudic scholars. See note 5...
Sotah 11a

Rabbeinu Yitzhak Abohav, Menorat Hamaor-The Light of Contentment, Translated by Rabbi Yaacov Yoseph   Reinman, Empire Press, Brooklyn, NY, pp. 56-7
6 HaRav Boruch Halevi Epstein,  The Essential Torah Temimah, Shemoth, p.9, Feldheim Publishers
An analogy between two laws established on the basis of identical expressions in the Biblical Text.

* AE: Site Admin.: Gematria is an ancient system used to derive meaning from different passages in the Hebrew scriptures whose Hebrew letters have the same numerical values.

Site Admin. Ban Chaim