By HaRav Mordechai Greenberg
Rosh HaYeshiva, Kerem B'Yavneh
"And Pharaoh commanded his entire nation, saying: any son that is born shall be thrown into the river" [Shemot 1:22]. The sages taught us that Pharaoh's astrologers predicted that the one sent to help Yisrael would be struck down by water, and therefore their decree referred to "every son that is born," including their own sons. However, "Man has many thoughts in his heart, but G-d's plan will prevail" [Mishlei 19:21].
Not only was there no possibility to thwart G-d's plan, in the end it turned out that what they did to interfere with His goal were important elements in the way it took shape. The very fact that Moshe was thrown into the river led to his being saved and to his being raised and educated in Pharaoh's home, as a way of preparing him for leadership. Out of all the names which Moshe had, the Torah chose to call him by a name given to him by Pharaoh's daughter, related to his rescue from the water. This shows us that the very fact that he was thrown into the water led to his becoming the leader of Yisrael.
The same lesson can be seen from earlier events. Yosef's brothers wanted to thwart his plans, asking, "Will you reign over us?" [Bereisheet 37:8]. They therefore sold him as a slave. And this sale, which was meant to block his dreams, was part of the process by which the dreams came about. Thus, when the brothers bowed down to Yosef in Egypt, sages wrote about the verse, "One man said to his brother, behold, the man of the dreams is coming. Let us kill him... And we will see what comes of his dreams..." The sages interpreted the events as follows: "This is what the holy spirit said: The brothers said, let us kill him, and the verse replies, let us see what comes of his dreams. Let us see which dreams come true, Mine or yours."
We are taught the same lesson in the Megillah of Esther. Whatever Haman thought to do to Mordechai is what happened to him, and whatever he wanted to have done to him he did to Mordechai. This is what King Shlomo meant when he wrote, "One who digs a pit will fall into it, and if one rolls a stone away it will return to strike him" [Mishlei 19:21].
In addition, Shlomo himself lived through an example of this very same principle. He had two royal scribes. One time Shlomo saw that the Angel of Death was sad. When he asked why, the angel explained that he had been sent to take the two scribes. So Shlomo had two demons take the scribes to the area of Luz, where they were saved. The next day Shlomo saw the Angel of Death in a happy mood. When Shlomo asked him to explain, the angel said: You sent them to the very place where I needed them. And Shlomo immediately reacted by saying: A man's feet bring him to the place where he is wanted.
I will end with an incident in which I was personally involved. About fifty years ago, I had two students in a high school where I taught, in Gedeira – Chagai and Ehud Gordon. They were twins from a moshav – an agricultural settlement, Kefar Mordechai. At the beginning of the Yom Kippur War, one of the brothers disappeared from sight. His brother was serving in Sinai, and when his unit was preparing for action the commander asked if anybody had any specific problem. The twin told his commander that his brother was missing, and that he would therefore prefer to remain behind and not take part in the action. The officer understood and let him stay. As soon as the others had left, a powerful missile struck the tent where the boy was and killed him. After the war, his brother's body was also found. They were buried together in Gedeira, in a heart-rending funeral. This was the only time in all of Israel's wars that two twin brothers were killed.