Join our weekly Peninim on the Torah list!

Category

Back to Home -> Vaeira ->


הם המדברים אל פרעה... להוציא את בני ישראל ממצרים הוא משה ואהרן

They are the ones who spoke to Pharaoh… to take Bnei Yisrael out of Egypt; this was Moshe and Aharon. (6:27)

The Torah introduces the partnership of Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon HaKohen as Klal Yisrael’s designated leaders who were Divinely charged to lead the Jewish People from Egypt. It was through them that Pharaoh and his people were meted out the Ten Plagues. The Torah introduces them here with a genealogical backdrop, beginning with their great-grandfather, Levi, his children and grandchildren, culminating with Moshe and Aharon. This would have been sufficient. The Torah, however, adds, “This was Moshe and Aharon,” which, on the surface, appears to be a superfluous statement. Of course, they are Moshe and Aharon. Who else? Rashi explains…

Continue Reading

ולקחתי אתכם לי לעם

I shall take you to Me for a people. (6:7)

Hashem chose the Jews as His People when He gave them the Torah. This was the watershed event that began with the Jews’ liberation from Egypt where they had been subjugated to the most cruel and debasing enslavement. When Klal Yisrael left Egypt, it was hardly evident that they would, in the space of a few months, be privy to the greatest Revelation of all time and receive the Torah, which would establish them as a nation under Hashem – His Nation. Veritably, the raison d’etre of the Jews’ liberation from Egypt was their receiving the Torah. This might be…

Continue Reading

וידבר אלקים אל משה ויאמר אליו אני ד'

Hashem spoke to Moshe and said to him, “I am Hashem.” (6:2)

We relate to Hashem through various Names which are attached to His Attributes. Elokim represents Din, Strict Justice, while Hashem represents Rachamim, Mercy. Thus, when the pasuk begins with the Name Elokim, we know that Middas HaDin, the Attribute of Strict Justice, comes into play, and that what Hashem is about to say or do will reflect Din. The Midrash (Shemos Rabbah 6:1) notes that Middas HaDin wanted to harm Moshe Rabbeinu for the manner in which he complained about the Jews’ enslavement. He was a powerful advocate, but one does not accuse Hashem of not acting justly (so to…

Continue Reading

וידבר אלקים אל משה ויאמר אליו אני ד'

Hashem spoke to Moshe and said to him, “I am Hashem.” (6:2)

The context of the word dabeir, speak, connotes a stronger, harsher form of speech. Rashi explains that the Torah is implying that Hashem rebuked Moshe Rabbeinu for his previous complaint: Lamah Ha’reiosa la’am hazeh, “(My Lord) why have You done evil to this people?” (Shemos 5:22): This implies that the lack of success of Moshe’s mission to Pharaoh was attributable to Hashem’s lack of support of his efforts. Veritably, Moshe was not blaming Hashem; he wondered why Hashem permitted Pharaoh to do such evil to His People. Pharaoh was a despot. Why did Hashem grant him license to inflict pain…

Continue Reading

הנני ממטיר כעת מחר ברד כבד מאד ... שלח העז את מקנך ... כל האדם והבהמה אשר ימצא בשדה ... וירד עליהם הברד ומתו ... הירא את דבר ד ... הניס את עבדיו אל הבתים ... ואשר לא שם לבו אל דבר ד ויעזב את עבדיו

Behold, at this time tomorrow, I shall rain a very heavy hail… and now send, gather in your livestock… All the people and the animals that are found in the field… the hail shall descend upon them and they shall die … Whoever feared Hashem chased his servants to the houses. And whoever did not take the word of G-d to heart he left his servants. (9:18,19,20,21)

Makas Barad, the plague of hail, begs elucidation. Horav Baruch Dov Povarsky, Shlita, presents us with a number of questions concerning this plague. Moshe Rabbeinu pinpointed to Pharaoh the exact time when the plague would commence by making a mark on the wall. He explained that when the sun would reach this mark, it would begin to hail. Afterwards, he told Pharaoh to have all his servants and possessions remanded indoors or else they would die or be destroyed. Why did Hashem warn them? The purpose of the plague was to punish the Egyptians. Why give them an exit strategy…

Continue Reading

ושרץ היאר צפרדעים ... ובאו בביתך ... ובעמך ובתנוריך ובמשארותיך

The river shall swarm with frogs, and they shall ascend and come into your palace … and of your people and into your ovens and into your kneading bowls. (7:28)

The frogs were a hardy bunch who swarmed all over Egypt. No place was considered off limits to them. Even the burning hot ovens did not prevent them from fulfilling Hashem’s command. When the Almighty said, “Go,” they went. It took enormous mesiras nefesh, self-sacrifice, for those frogs to enter the burning oven. For all intents and purposes, it spelled certain death. In the end, they were the only frogs who did not die. Whoever carries out Hashem’s mitzvah comes to no harm. Chazal (Yoma 85:b) teach that years later Chananyah, Mishael and Azaryah entered the fiery cauldron, motivated by…

Continue Reading

ויעשו כן חרטמי מצרים בלטיהם

The necromancers of Egypt did the same by means of their incantations. (7:22)

Pharaoh did not heed Moshe Rabbeinu’s warning. Hashem instructed Moshe to have Aharon strike the Nile and stretch out his hand to bring the plague of dam, blood, all over the land. The reaction of Pharaoh and his magicians defies comprehension: they also demonstrated the magical ability to transform the water into blood. Is this sane? Imagine a fire breaks out in a city inhabited primarily by imbeciles. So what do the imbeciles do in reaction to the fire that has broken out in one end of the city? They start another fire in the other end of the city!…

Continue Reading

ולא שמעו אל משה מקצר רוח ומעבודה קשה

But they didn’t listen to Moshe from impatience of spirit and from hard labor. (6:9)

One would think that, if someone were to appear at the domicile of a down-trodden slave to inform him that the end of his bondage is near and he would soon be a free man, his immediate reaction would be joy – overwhelming joy. Instead, when Moshe Rabbeinu informed Klal Yisrael that Pharaoh would no longer be their Master, they seemed impatient and not really interested in hearing his message of liberation. The Torah explains that they were victims of kotzer ruach, which Sforno interprets as: l’hisbonein, to comprehend, think it over; in short, they were plagued with an inability…

Continue Reading

וימתו הצפרדעים מן הבתים מן החצרת ומן השדת... ויסר הערב מפרעה מעבדיו ומעמו לא נשאר אחד

The frogs died from the houses, from the courtyards, and from the field… He removed the swarm of wild beasts from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people – not one remained. (8:9,27)

The frogs (most of them) died. The arov, wild beasts, and arbeh, locust, did not. Kli Yakar explains that Hashem sought to teach that one who gives himself up for Kiddush Hashem, to sanctify Hashem’s Name, will be saved. Thus, those frogs that climbed into the burning hot ovens belonging to the Egyptians – lived. The other frogs, who did not enter the ovens, but rather “chose” to invade the country, the fields, the homes – died. The ones that risked death for the glory of Hashem were spared; the others were not. It was this lesson that Chananyah, Mishael…

Continue Reading

אמר אל אהרן קח מטך ונטה ידך על מימי מצרים

Say to Aharon, “Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt.” (7:19)

So begins the Ten Plagues that shook up the underpinnings of Egyptian arrogance and obstinacy. Hashem instructed Aharon to strike the waters; later, he struck the water from which emerged the frogs and then the earth which produced the lice. Why Aharon, and not Moshe? Chazal explain that the Nile River had protected Moshe Rabbeinu when he was an infant. It would have been wrong for him to serve as the instrument to inflict a plague on it. Likewise, the earth concealed the Egyptian that Moshe had slain. The Torah considers it wrong to show ingratitude even to an inanimate…

Continue Reading

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our weekly Peninim on the Torah list!

You have Successfully Subscribed!