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How was Moses “Good”?

According to Exodus 2:2, Moses was hid for three months by his mother. I am doubt: Tov is rendered as “beautiful” in many Bibles. I do not understand how come she saved her son becuase he was beautiful. What if he was not beautiful?


This is a very good question, and has been addressed by medieval commentaries to the Torah. I will cite two explanations that are given by commentaries.

1) The word “tov” means that he was “goodly,” meaning healthy, and not a child that will die after a matter of days. If the child was a nefel, meaning an infant that cannot survive (the Sages write that Moses was born three months prematurely, which is why he could be hidden for three months), there would be no point in hiding him. After clarifying that he was not a nefel, she proceeded to do everything she could do save him (Rashbam; Daas Zekeinim).

2) The word “tov” means that the child looked extraordinary, possessing a special aura that is not normal for babies. Because she saw the special nature of the child, she understood that Hashem will guard him, and she was inspired to do anything that might result in his salvation (Ramban).

Best wishes.

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