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The Systems of the Jewish Year

Pakod

By Rabbi Sender Haber

When Moshe was a child he made a choice between a Diamond and a coal. He knew that the diamond was more valuable, but he picked up the coal instead. As a result he was inflicted with a speech impediment.

When Reb Shmuel Kamenetzky visited Norfolk several years ago, the students at Toras Chaim were encouraged to prepare a question to ask him. One of the students asked why Moshe did not pray to have his speech impediment cured, rather than allow it to handicap him for his entire life.

The Ramban answers that Moshe did not want to forget the amazing wonders that Hashem had done for him in saving his life when he was only a baby.

The Ran writes that Hashem wanted Moshe to have a speech impediment so that it would be understood that the Torah had sold itself and had not been the result of slick marketing. (The Shela disagrees based on the Medrash that Moshe was healed at Matan torah).

Rav Itzele Volozhiner wrote a work entitled Peh Kadosh. He quotes a Medrash that the Jewish people had a secret known through Serach that they would be redeemed with the word ‘Pakad’. There had been false saviors in Egypt and people were skeptical of Moshe, but when he used the word ‘Pakod Pakadeti’ they were convinced.

Moshe’s particular impediment was the inability to pronounce the letter “pey’. This may be the meaning of the verse ‘Mi Sam Peh L’adam?” When Moshe miraculously pronounced the words ‘Pakod Pakadeti’ they knew that he had truly been sent by G-d.

Still, we need to understand the significance of the words Pakod Efkod. Were they jus a code word like “Open Sesame”?

Perhaps the idea is that the people in Mitzrayim did not feel worthy of redemption. In fact, even the angels argued before Hashem that the Jews were no more deserving than the Egyptians.

This is where Pakod comes in. Pakod means to count and to remember and to assign because as Hashem counts us he remembers us and our potential. We may not always look great, but when we are desperate He knows what we need.

When Moshe was at the bush he also felt like the Jewish people were not ready. They wouldn’t listen to him. This was the symbolism of the historic staff turning into a snake but again into a staff. As gruesome as they looked, the Jewish people needed to be remembered and picked up off the ground.

Hashem’s miraculous message of Pakod Efkod was that he remembered every one of us, what we needed and what our role should be.

We need to remember this when we are feeling neglected and undeserving. More importantly, we need to remember this when we see somebody else having a bad day or acting improperly.

Hashem caused great miracles just to communicate that ‘Pakod Efkod’, “I remember you and I am going to let you shine”.

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