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Thursday, February 2, 2017
Parshas Va'eira 5777
Okay; so the first verse in
Parshas Va’eira is ‘Vayidaber
Elokim el Moshe, vayomer eilav; Ani Hashem/And G-d spoke to Moshe and He said to him; I
Tells us the Sefer Toras
Avos (teachings from the Rebbes of Lechovitz, Kobrin, and Slonim): As
we know, the Name Elokim (translated as G-d) denotes Judgement -
Hashem’s Attribute of Strict Judgement. While His Name Hashem
denotes His Attribute of Mercy.
So, Hashem was saying to Moshe
Rabbeinu here, says Sefer Toras Avos, that according to what he thought,
everything that had happened so far in Egypt to the Jews was from His Attribute
of Strict Judgement - as things had even gotten worse towards the end of Parshas
Shemos - and Moshe Rabbeinu had complained some about it (thus the Name Elokim
first in the verse).
However the truth is that,
as He said, ‘Ani
Hashem/I am Hashem’ - the
Name that denotes Mercy. Everything that happened was actually out of
mercy for the Jews (it was going to help them greatly!) - though it might have
seemed like it was harsh.
We should take the lesson
from this that even though things might sometimes be, Rachmana Litzlan/may the
Merciful One save us, tough, we should remember that actually; even the hardest
thing is coming from Hashem’s Mercy for us and to help us. This is a
very, very important thing that we should try to always remember in life.
Okay; so, as we know, 7 of
the Plagues are in Parshas Va’eira, and, with Hashem’s Help, let us try
to list at least one commentary on each:
1)Dom/Blood. Hashem turned the Egyptians’
water into blood.
So, the Midrash Rabbah
tells us that if an Egyptian and a Jew would both go to a barrel of water to
draw water; the Egyptian would draw blood and the Jew would draw water.
And this teaches us a big
lesson: Two people can view, do, see, etc. the same thing - but it can be
completely different for both of them. For example; a good person (may we
all merit to be like this) can look at a Mitzvah and think “What an
opportunity!” But someone else can look at it and think (Rachmana
Litzlan), “What a bother!”
Water is a very helpful and
pure thing in the world. While blood - when not in a good way, such as
being in our bodies (that is the good way) - can represent certain evils.
When a better person looks
at something, they will often see the good stuff in it; while the less
righteous will often see the bad stuff. May we all have the merit to see
only the good in things, Amein vi’Amein.
And this Midrash teaches us
another thing: The power of perspective: While you might see one
thing, another person might see something totally different. We must
2)Tzifardeia/Frogs: Hashem made a bunch of
frogs in Egypt - going into their houses, ovens, etc.
And, when the Torah talks
about the frogs going up onto Egypt, it says ‘And the frog went up…..’
So, Rashi HaKadosh quotes from Midrash Tanchuma, which tells us
that there was originally only one frog, but the Egyptians kept hitting it and
hitting it, and it kept splitting into more frogs.
Asks the Steipler Gaon
(HaRav Yaakov Yisroel Kanievsky zt”l): Why did the Egyptians keep hitting
it? If they saw that it would multiply every time they hit it, why
wouldn’t they have just stopped?!
But he answers that this is
the way of the trait of anger: A person totally loses control of themselves
and can’t even think straight. (From Sefer Bircas Peretz)
Indeed, the Sages say in Gemara
ha’koeis, kol minei Gehinnom sholtin bo/All who get angry, all kinds of Gehinnom control him.’
(However, there are, of course, good reasons to get angry).
3)Kinim/Lice: Hashem made a lice infestation
So, as we know, Aharon
HaKohen was the one who struck the dust and it became lice - not Moshe
Rabbeinu. And Rashi HaKadosh quotes from Midrash Tanchuma,
which explains that Moshe Rabbeinu couldn’t do it because when he had killed
the Egyptian who was striking a Jew, he had hid him in the dirt. So he
had to show HaKaras HaTov (literally, Recognizing the Good - sort of like gratitude)
to the dirt.
Asks HaRav Chaim
Shmulevitz zt”l: Dirt is an inanimate object; did Moshe Rabbeinu
really have to show HaKaras HaTov to it?
And he answers; yes.
HaKaras HaTov goes so far that we even have to show it to inanimate
objects. If something helped us (even though all help is from Hashem), we
must show gratitude to it. (From Sichos Mussar)
And, if we must show
gratitude to something that did something good for us but once; all the more so
should we be extremely grateful to Hashem, He is Blessed, for the good that He
does to us every single second!!
4)Arov/Mixture of Wild Beasts. Hashem made
an assortment of dangerous wild beasts infest Egypt.
Asks the Be’er Yosef
(HaRav Yosef Tzvi Salant zt”l): Why is this plague specifically called
‘Arov’ - which means a mixture? (Couldn’t it have been called like, Wild Beasts
- in Hebrew?)And he explains that it is
because the ‘Arov/Mixture’ part, was the biggest Miracle.
Most wild animals live in
different habitats, (and would eat each other if they were close to one
another, I might add). So this Plague is called after the biggest Miracle
of it, he says (though everything is really a Miracle): The fact that it
was a mixture of wild animals from all different habitats in one place. (From Sefer
Be’er Yosef Al HaTorah)
5)Dever/Pestilence. Hashem sent an epidemic
in the animals of the Egyptians, and it killed most of their animals.
So, with this plague, the
Torah tells us about how Paroah saw that none of the Jews’ animals ‘Ad echad/Until one’ - (meaning none) died, and he didn’t let them
out. And many commentators ask; what is going on here? Paroah saw
that none of the Jews’ animals had died - so it was obviously a total Miracle -
so he hardened his heart and didn’t let them out?!
So, HaRav Moshe
Shternbuch shlita quotes from HaRav Leib Chasman zt”l, who explains
that oftentimes, when a person is about to lose an argument, they get very
stubborn and push even harder. Even if everyone knows that they are
wrong, they will push even harder for their argument.
This is what happened with
Paroah, explains Rav Chasman zt”l: He saw how much of a blatant Miracle
it was - there was no question. And he essentially was proven wrong by
it, so he got very stubborn and pushed back again. (From Sefer Taam Va’Daas)
6)Sh’chin/Boils. Hashem gave the Egyptians
itchy, scratchy, hurting boils.
With this Plague, Moshe
Rabbeinu had to throw soot Heavenward, and boils would be on the Egyptians.
So, HaRav Shimshon Refoel Hirsch
zt”l explains that by making all the boils “come from” a little bit of soot,
Hashem emphasized how much of a miracle this was. (From The Stone Edition
Okay; we had commentaries
on the Plagues, and, with Hashem’s Help, I would like to add one last
commentary - a double feature - for this Dvar: As we know, during a lot
of the Plagues, Paroah said that he would let us go; but then afterwards - when
the Plague had been taken away - he turned back and decided not to.
Tells us HaRav Yeruchom
Levovitz zt”l: When we have a pressure situation (we are having
trouble, Rachmana Litzlan, etc.), we will do a lot of things, or say we will.
But then when the pressure is off; we just forget. And this is what
Paroah did. (From Sefer Daas Torah)
Adds HaRav Shalom Rosner
shlita; this is how we act with Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: We feel the
pressure - everything is on the line - and we take upon ourselves to do a bunch
of things and tell ourselves that we will change, etc. But when these
days are over, we just forget and go back to normal. In this way, he
says, we are just like Paroah. (From OU.org) So, we must work to change this. And
may Hashem help everyone to do so, Amein vi’Amein.