Daily Zohar # 3250 – Vaera – Heads of their fathers’ houses
84. אָמַר רַבִּי חִיָּיא, שֶׁכֻּלָּם לֹא שִׁקְּרוּ בְּמִנְהֲגֵיהֶם, וְלֹא הִתְעָרְבוּ בְּעַם אַחֵר, אֵלֶּה הֵם שֶׁעָמְדוּ בִּמְקוֹמָם הַקָּדוֹשׁ וְלֹא שִׁקְּרוּ לְהִתְעָרֵב בַּמִּצְרִיִּים. אָמַר רַבִּי אָחָא, בִּשְׁבִיל לְהָבִיא אֶת מֹשֶׁה וְאֶת אַהֲרֹן, שֶׁהֵם רְאוּיִים לְהוֹצִיא אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל וּלְדַבֵּר לְפַרְעֹה וְלִרְדּוֹת אוֹתָם בְּמַקֵּל, מִשּׁוּם שֶׁכָּל רָאשֵׁי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא נִמְצְאוּ כְמוֹתָם.
85. בֹּא רְאֵה, וְאֶלְעָזָר בֶּן אַהֲרֹן לָקַח לוֹ מִבְּנוֹת פּוּטִיאֵל לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה וַתֵּלֶד לוֹ אֶת פִּינְחָס אֵלֶּה רָאשֵׁי אֲבוֹת הַלְוִיִּם. וְכִי אֵלֶּה רָאשֵׁי, וַהֲרֵי הוּא לְבַדּוֹ הָיָה? אֶלָּא מִשּׁוּם שֶׁפִּנְחָס קִיֵּם כַּמָּה אֲלָפִים וּרְבָבוֹת מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל וְהוּא קִיֵּם אֶת רָאשֵׁי הָאָבוֹת, (לְוִיִּם) כָּתוּב בּוֹ אֵלֶּה.
“וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל מֹשֶׁה וְאֶל אַהֲרֹן וַיְצַוֵּם אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֶל פַּרְעֹה מֶלֶךְ מִצְרָיִם לְהוֹצִיא אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם.”
“אֵלֶּה רָאשֵׁי בֵית אֲבֹתָם בְּנֵי רְאוּבֵן בְּכֹר יִשְׂרָאֵל חֲנוֹךְ וּפַלּוּא חֶצְרוֹן וְכַרְמִי אֵלֶּה מִשְׁפְּחֹת רְאוּבֵן.”
“Then YHVH spoke to Moses and Aaron, and gave them a charge to the sons of Israel and to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt.”
“These are the heads of their fathers’ houses: the sons of Reuben, the firstborn of Israel: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi; these are the clans of Reuben.”
God gave Moses and Aaron the charge to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt. Rabbi Yosi explains that gave them the ‘charge’ so they can treat them with kindness and patience. God used the full title of Pharaoh “to Pharaoh king of Egypt” to mean that they should give him respect.
Rabbi Yesa says that the verse that follows the ‘assignment’ talks about the leaders of the Israelites. It means that the Holy One Blessed be He wanted them to treat the children of Israel as kings and leaders, not as slaves.
Rabbi Chiya brings another explanation and says that presenting the children of Israel as “heads of their fathers’ houses” teaches us that the Israelites followed the spiritual laws and didn’t get mixed with the Egyptians.
Moses and Aaron were given the position to lead the Israelites out of Egypt because they were on a spiritual level above all the others.
“וְאֶלְעָזָר בֶּן אַהֲרֹן לָקַח לוֹ מִבְּנוֹת פּוּטִיאֵל לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה וַתֵּלֶד לוֹ אֶת פִּינְחָס אֵלֶּה רָאשֵׁי אֲבוֹת הַלְוִיִּם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם.”
“Aaron’s son Eleazar married one of the daughters of Putiel, and she bore him Phinehas. These are the heads of the fathers’ households of the Levites according to their families.”
The Zohar asks why after “She bore him Pinchas”, which is an individual, and then it says “These are the heads” in plural, and explains that because Pinchas saved tens of thousands of Isarelites and leaders of tribes when he killed Zimri and Cozbi (Numbers 25:1 – 9) and stopped the plague.
The Israelites were treated with kindness, honor, and as equal by Moses and Aaron because they were about to break the bondage to Egypt and live free as kings.
Pharaoh was an evil king that enslaved the Israelites. He was treated first as a king to give him the opportunity to honor God and let the Israelites go. Later God sent Moses “to Pharaoh”, not like the beginning “to Pharaoh king of Egypt”.
God treats us as if we are in our maximum potential. When we turn our back to God as Pharaoh did, we get the judgment that would make us return to him.