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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

VaEra 14-4

And (I) appeared

Exodus 7:8 ­ 8:10 (8:6 Heb.)

Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs. Yet Pharaoh's heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the LORD had said. 

Ex. 7:12-13 NIV

Who wins the argument?

When there is an argument between two people with opposing ideas it is very common that both of them try to win the argument with a line that makes the opponent weaker. The one with an intellectual ego-swollen mind will think that he can win the discussion with the strongest lines so the opponent feels humiliated and ignorant before his brilliant debate. This kind of argument only serves the purposes of feeding the pride and strengthening the yetser harah, the bad inclination, the flesh.

The one who presents the strongest lines is not the one who wins the argument. It is possible that he wins the argument itself, but the opponent that was humiliated by his cunning attitude most of the time will still believe what he did just because he is not willing to submit to the opponentıs attitude.

The power confrontation between Moshe and the magicians from Egypt is an example of this. Even though Aharonıs staff/snake was stronger than the sorcerersı and it devoured them, there was no change in attitude in the sorcerers or Pharaoh. Moshe didn't win the battle showing that his power was greater, because Pharaoh's heart became hard. This is very common in arguments. The one who wins the argument, wins with his lines but doesnıt win the heart of his opponent.

It is better to lose an argument than to lose a heart. It is better to lose and argument and win the heart and appreciation of the opponent when he sees that you are not interested in gaining control, boast or rise yourself over him.

However, in Moshe there was no desire of showing that he was greater. He was a humble man and his only wish was to obey the Eternalıs orders. And because he was humble he was lifted up and the Eternal showed through the power operating in Moshe, that He was the greatest. But Moshe didnıt do as many, trying to take the Eternalıs place and be gods in this world to be praised for their merits and achievements. Far from a man of God like Moshe. His heartıs motivation was way above those with carnal attitudes. 

Don't try to win an argument to be deemed smarter or rise above the others. If you do so, you become a loser before the eyes of heaven. On the other hand, you will and should win arguments with a humble heart and honouring the opponent, correcting him with meekness, compassion and love. In this way you will win his heart and help him repent of his wrong reasoning and ideas that are contrary to the Torah. 

May the Eternal help us be humble in everything and not to seek our own glory in any area of our lives.

Happy the meek because they shall inherit the land,


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