Dvar for Shemot (Exodus 1:1-6:1)
In Parshat Shemot, the Torah delineates the story of Moshe’s origins, and how he became to be the leader that eventually guided the Jews out of Egypt. In his initial exchange with G-d, at one point Moshe asks “who am I that I should go to Paroh…” (3:11), to which G-d responds “Eheye imach” – for I will be with you (3:12). How is that a response to Moshe’s concern? If G-d being with Moshe is the only qualification, then anyone G-d chooses to accompany to Paroh would be qualified for the job. Further, in the very next Passuk Moshe asks G-d for His name, should the people ask, to which G-d responds “Eheye asher Eheye” – I will be what I will be, and then tells Moshe to tell the people that Eheye sent Moshe (3:14). How are we to understand the name/term Eheye in all these contexts?
One possibility is that the term/name Eheye is a future presence. G-d was saying that He will be with the Jews in this crisis, as he will be in all future crises (Rashi). What defines G-d is His looking ahead rather than dwelling on the past. It’s why repentance is all about future actions, not dwelling on previous sins. In this context, G-d was responding to Moshe’s initial qualification argument by conveying that it’s not about where Moshe’s been or even how he is now, but what he will end up accomplishing, with G-d’s help. That’s also what the name is meant to represent to an enslaved nation, or to anyone facing a crisis – it’s not about the past or even the present, it’s about our future being bright, with G-d’s guidance.