Throughout the book of Bereshit we have been following the creation of the world through to the birth of a nation. Our ancestors had qualities and led lives for us to aspire to, and we had a bird’s eye view into their journeys building deep connections with Hashem.
We now turn to the familiar story of our time in Egypt. How we became slaves to an oppressing ruler and the birth of our new leader. Moshe as we know is brought up in the Palace but confused about his identity, and not knowing his true destiny.
He becomes confused and troubled by the oppression of the Jews, and in a heroic display defending the life of one Jewish man, he accidently kills one of the Egyptian taskmasters. Now in fear of his own life, he runs away ending up in Midian. There he meets the daughters of the Midian priest Yitro. Again coming to the rescue, he finds the daughters being attacked by Shepards and unable to draw much needed water. In helping them fend of the shepherds and then with their chores, they find themselves home much earlier than expected. Yitro asks them why they are home so early to which they respond, “An Egyptian Man saved us.” We would assume that they were referring to Moshe, who looked the part, but the Midrash gives us a different insight.
It tells a story of a man walking through the forest where he is bitten by a snake. He then searches for some water to clean his wound and in doing so finds a lake where he sees a young boy drowning. He jumps in rescuing the child and revives him. The boy thanks the man for saving his life, but the man tells the boy not to thank him but to thank the snake, as had the snake not have bitten him, he would not have ended up near the lake. The Mirdash explains that the daughters of Yitro were not referring to Moshe but to the Egyptian Man that he killed, as had it not been for that, he would not have been around to save and help them.
The Midrash is teaching us that where we can, we should always try and see the bigger picture. Sometimes that will mean we can more clearly understand the situation we are in, or on other occasions it might mean we appreciate how we got there. In a world where life moves so fast, where there is never enough time in the day, the Torah is teaching us to slow down, to see the world for what it is, and to have true understanding and appreciation.