the ten commandments’ story at the beginning involves the possibly the greatest act of kindness. this act of kindness was not one of the hebrews. it was an egyptian.
due to the death sentence imposed upon hebrew new born males, moses’ mother to save him placed him in a reed basket and sent him down the nile river. per exodus 2:5
“pharaoh’s daughter went down to bathe, to the nile, and her maidens were walking along the nile, and she saw the basket in the midst of the marsh, and she sent her maidservant, and she took it. she opened [it], and she saw him the child, and behold, he was a weeping lad, and she had compassion on him, and she said, “this is [one] of the children of the hebrews.” His sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “shall i go and call for you a wet nurse from the hebrew women, so that she shall nurse the child for you?” pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “go!” so the girl went and called the child’s mother. pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “take this child and nurse him for me, and I will give [you] your wages.” so the woman took the child and nursed him. the child grew up, and she brought him to pharaoh’s daughter, and he became like her son. she named him Moses, and she said, “for i drew him from the water.”
there are several things that can be speculated from the passage. first, pharoah’s daughter knew that others in the royal family would know that this adopted child was a hebrew. second, phararoah’s daughter was aware of the death decree yet risked bring the child into the royal family.
thus, a focal part of the ten commandments story is adoption.
adoption is perhaps the greatest act of kindness. one taking in a child in need into one’s family is not an easy task. for children that are genetically related, parents are able to piece together an understanding of the physical, intellectual and emotional qualities of the children. they may share traits similar to parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles or siblings. with respect to adopted children, these qualities may be unknown or may not be familiar.
adopted children face many challenges in life different than other children. they have issues concerning their birth parents. they have issues as to why they were placed up for adoption. they may have issues with respect to their relations in their family with respect to other children.
the beauty of the torah is that it is able to communicate values in very few words. this little passage lays out how the upper echelon of society can have compassion towards the lowest echelon of society. it illustrates how an individual who was willing to take risks to save a child. it illustrates an individual who risks here station in life to assist a child outside of her race/nationality and raise them as her own. finally, it illustrates how an adopted child can make an impact and change the course of history.
in sum, ten commandments values indicate that parents who take on this important societal task should be honored. additionally, society should assist these children in their journey to adulthood.
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