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Shabbat Prayers-So What-Shemot-Mussaf Kedusha

“God benefited the midwives, and the people increased and became very strong (Exodus 1:20).” We are entitled to know what precisely were the favors God did for the midwives. Perhaps the verse alludes to the houses that are described in the next verse. If that were so, however, there would have been no point in interrupting the sequence by stating that, “the people increased and became very powerful.” It appears, rather, that the verse explains the cause of the increase in the numbers of the Children of Israel. The very food and water which the midwives provided resulted in God dealing well with the midwifes. God enabled the midwives to continue their economically expensive efforts to feed the many newly born babies. Had God not help them economically, they would not have had the wherewithal to supply all the food which resulted in the increase of the numbers of Israelites. The Torah reports the reward God provided “for the midwives themselves,” only in the next verse where we are told that He built houses for them.


The Torah may also have hinted that when God realized the degree of piety demonstrated by the midwives, He decided to reward them by providing them with unlimited opportunities to continue their good work. The word “benefited,” is followed by “increased,” to show cause and effect. The “good” God did for the midwives was that they saw their efforts rewarded by an increase in the Israelite population.

Who knows if leaders such as Moses and Aaron were not provided by God for Israel as a direct reward for the selfless efforts of these two midwives. These midwives taught Moses and Aaron that, “He is our Father, He is our King, He is our Savior.” (Ohr HaChaim haKadosh).

Moses and Aaron had to experience on a very human level God as Father, King, and Savior, so that they would be able to convey all of these aspects of our relationship with God to the people they took out of Egypt and led through the desert for two generations.

“He is our Lord; He is our Father; He is our King; He is our Savior.” When we sing these words in the Shabbat Mussaf Kedusha, we must sing as people who have experienced all of these aspects in our relationship with God. Focus on times when you felt that God was protecting you as a Father. Reflect on moments when you experienced God as King, such as on Rosh Hashanah. Remember times when you felt that God was saving you from a difficult situation when speaking of God as Savior.

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