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Section: Parshas HaShavua   Category: Quick Vort
Parshas Bo: Meshech Chochma - The Stuff That Legends Are Made Of

"Gam Ha'Ish Moshe Gadol Me'od B'Eretz Mitzrayim B'Einei Avdei Paroh U'B'einei Ha'am", Moshe's was held to be great in Mitzrayim in the eyes of the servants of Paroh and in the eyes of the nation (Bo 11:3).  The Meshech Chochma says there are two ways a person can come to be considered great.  One is by being exemplary in character and wise beyond others, and being the finest example of a living human being.  Another way is to be different and do extraordinary things that normal people cannot do. To be worshiped as superhuman by doing the supernatural. 

The difference says the Meshech Chochma, is that the first way you earn the respect of the elite of society.  Only they recognize your intelligence and your finer qualities.  The lower classes are impressed by the second kind of greatness.  And as word of mouth spreads, the legends tend to grow wings and people tremble at the mere mention of the person's name.  The elite are more skeptical of these stories.

At first Moshe Rabbeinu (Shemos 4:6) is called "Ish Elokim" by the Mitzrim, for the G-d-like miracles he performs.  He is only accepted by the masses, but the Chartumim are all convinced he is just a better magician. Only by Kinim do the Chartumim finally admit that his work is "Etzba Elokim".  However the greatness of Moshe the person, his wisdom, humility, and selflessness were not at first recognized by the masses.  Only Paroh's servants, who saw him up close, heard him, and witnessed his speech and demeanor, knew "Ish Moshe" the greatness of Moshe the "man".  That is why the pasuk says "Ha'Ish Moshe Gadol ... B'Einei Avdei Paroh U'B'einei Ha'am".

The Meshech Chochma teaches a way to judge which group we belong to.  Are we from the elite who are impressed by a "mentch" or the simple people who love a good story.