Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
Exodus 2:1-2 tells us, Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months. This statement seems to imply that Moses was Amram and Jochebed’s first child, but we discover later on that it is at least their third after Miriam the oldest who was five, and Aaron who was three years old at Moses birth. Why this strange text rendition then?
Tradition teaches us that after Pharaoh’s decree, Amram felt that it was useless to attempt raising a family so he divorced his wife. Because he stood as a Levite, Amram’s decision created a snowball effect within the Israelite population. Miriam who was very young at the time rebuked her father telling him that he was worse than Pharaoh. Her reasoning was that whereas Pharaoh sought to kill all the Israelite male children, Amram, through his sample and lack of leadership threatened to bring genocide to the whole Hebrew nation. If the Israelites stopped raising families, their population's numbers will decrease, possibly come to a standstill and finally disappear. Miriam certainly had the gift of judging actions by their long term effect; she went on to become a great leader of Israel. Tradition tells us that Amram repented, remarried Jochebed, and sired Moses, and that is why the Torah text appears the way it is. One can argue about the veracity of these story but true or not, it gives us a window on ancient Israelites views on family, tribal dynamics, morality, goals, purposes and methods of judgment.
Through the story of Moses who was a foreshadow of the first and second coming of Messiah, we are given the foundation stone of mankind’s redemption plan. Imagine now that the events that formed Moses' life could have been thwarted because of one act of despair from one of the older generation of Israel. In the mean time, a youth with a fresh non-cynical look at life saw the calamitous results of her father's decision. She then confronted her father and provoked a reversal of action.
We complain much about youth today but could it be that perhaps they do not feel heard by the cynical so-called wise parental generation? We have our lives behind us but they have theirs in front of them and that, without the cynicism that so often sadly accompanies age and experience.
In preparing for tomorow, may our children find their place. May we raise them in an atmosphere where they feel at liberty to change and prepare their future by being able to expose our shortcomings. May Hashem give us the humility to hear the voice of conviction in their uncouth and unseasoned tone. What is it the prophet said? “A little child shall lead them (Isaiah 11:6). “