This week’s Parasha, Parashat Shemot, sets into motion a sequence of events that will propel Moshe’s leadership of the Jewish people. The narrative about baby Moshe in his basket lacks the mention of one important figure: God. Since the rabbis seek to link God directly with the earliest stages of Moshe’s life, the Midrashim turn their attention to Pharaoh’s daughter and her connection with God.
Exodus Rabbah 1:23 asks: Why did Pharaoh’s daughter need to bathe in the water in the first place? The Midrash answers that she wanted to cleanse herself from the idols of her father’s palace. This answer links Pharaoh’s daughter with monotheistic beliefs and shows how God’s hand played a role in this narrative.
Exodus Rabbah 1:24 asks: Why does the Torah state that Pharaoh’s daughter “opened it [the ark], and saw it, the child”? (Exodus 2:6) Since “the child” is already mentioned in this Pasuk, isn’t the second “it” superfluous? The Midrash explains that there is an additional “it” because Pharaoh’s daughter saw that the Shechinah, God’s presence, was with baby Moshe. While God is not specifically mentioned in this chapter of Moshe’s life, the authors of the Midrash work to insert God wherever possible. In our lives, have we had positive experiences that we simply attribute to good timing and good luck? Have we had negative experiences where we felt like we were suffering alone? Let the message of these Midrashim teach us that it’s never too late to re-insert God into the narrative of our lives.