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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 10, v. 1: "Es Libo V'es Leiv" - His heart and the heart - The first letters of these four words form the word Elul. (Rabbeinu Efrayim)

The following word "avodov" might be a continuation of this allusion. Elul is a time for soul searching and repentance. We aim to subordinate ourselves to Hashem and become "avodov." (Nirreh li)

Ch. 10, v. 2: "Ulmaan t'sa'peir b'oznei vincho u'ven bincho" - And so that you shall relate into the ears of your son and your son's son - The word "ulmaan" appears in the Torah in only one other place, in Dvorim 11:9, "ulmaan taarichu yomim." The connection is based on the words of the Rambam to his son. Each person has an allotted number of years to live. Even if a person is given a short amount of time, it is not a tragedy. Obviously Hashem has decided that he has fulfilled his goals. However, even if one has fulfilled his goals, if he teaches his children Torah, then Hashem sometimes extends his life. You will sometimes extend the days of your life if you relate the Torah to your sons and your sons' sons. (Pardes Yoseif)

Ch. 10, v. 4: "Arbeh" - Locust - This word is mentioned here 7 times to allude to the 7 types of locust that invaded Egypt. They are: arbeh, solom, chargol, gezem, yelek, and chosil. (Medrash Habiur)

Ch. 10, v. 11: "Lo chein l'chu noh hagvorim v'ivdu es Hashem ki osoh a'tem m'vakshim" - Not so only the men will now go and you shall serve Hashem because that is what you request - Paroh seems to be contradicting himself in the same breath. He first says no to sending the children, whom Moshe just included in the previous verse, so how does Paroh say that this is your request? Rashi remarks that when Moshe told Paroh that the purpose of their three day hiatus into the desert was to offer sacrifices to Hashem, he said that only grown men involve themselves in such activities, not children. We can now understand Paroh as saying no to the children because "osoh," that "hosofoh," addition, you PERSONALLY request, and not Hashem. Even with keeping the children in Egypt Paroh felt he was acquiescing to Hashem's wishes. When the plague of locust was visited upon him, Paroh then realized that Hashem's command included the children. He therefore asked for forgiveness not just from Hashem, but also from Moshe and Aharon, "Chotosi laShem Elokeichem v'lochem" (verse 16). (The Holy Magid of Mezeritch)

Ch. 10, v. 16: "Va'y'ma'heir Paroh" - And Paroh hurried - Paroh hurried to call Moshe and Aharon because he wanted the plague of locust to stop immediately, before they also destroy the roots of the plants.

This is "hamovves ha'zeh" of the next verse. Not only is there no vegetation left, but there will be no immediate future growth if the roots are also consumed. This will bring death.

Ch. 10, v. 17: "V'hatiru" - And plead - Rabbi Avrohom Yaffen, Rosh Yeshivas Novarodok, once met with the Holy Admor of Satmar and their conversation turned to care taken in speaking totally truthfully. Rabbi Yaffen related to the Holy Admor that Rabbi Zundel Salant once received a request by mail to pray for the return of good health for the wife of one of his students. His secretary wrote his letter in response that indeed he would do so. However, in the letter he wrote "ONU mispal'lim," WE are praying, rather than "ANI mis'pal'eil," I am praying. Because of this Rabbi Zundel refused to sign the letter, as it was misleading, giving the impression that Rabbi Zundel not only prayed, but also had at least one other person pray as well. Rabbi Yoffen said that this incident clearly demonstrated how careful Rabbi Zundel was, to even avoid the slightest misimpression.

The Holy Admor responded that this scenario would have been a total absolute lie according to the Ramban, in particular when it comes to praying for someone's well being. Rabbi Yoffen did not know where the Ramban said this, and although he searched for it for a number of years he did not find it and eventually put it out of his mind.

Numerous years later he took note of the Ramban on our verse. "V'hatiru," is plural. Paroh begged both of them to pray even though he knew that only Moshe would pray for the cessation of the plague. The Ramban (and Ibn Ezra) explains that Paroh included Aharon in his request simply out of good manners, since Aharon was always present to serve as spokesman. The Ramban concludes by saying that Moshe clearly told Paroh numerous times that HE would pray, "l'mosai ATIR l'cho, v'HATARTI, EFROS es kapai." Moshe did this to avoid speaking in the plural form, to avoid having falsehood leaving his mouth.

Ch. 10, v. 22,23: "Va'y'hi choshech a'feiloh b'chol Eretz Mitzrayim, Ulchol bnei Yisroel hoyoh ohr" - And there was total darkness in all of Egypt, And for all the bnei Yisroel there was light - M.R. 14:3 says that during the first three days of darkness the wicked among the bnei Yisroel died. The Chid"o in Pnei Dovid explains how this is seen from the verse itself. M.R. Breishis 3:8 on the words "v'lachoshech koro lailoh" (Breishis 1:5) says that the actions of the wicked are called darkness. He quotes a medrash that says that every plague that visited the Egyptians also visited the bnei Yisroel, but only for a moment and then it immediately ceased. The purpose of this was so that the bnei Yisroel would fully appreciate their being spared. Our verse says that there was darkness "b'CHOL eretz Mitzrayim," everywhere in the land. "Ohr b'moshvosom" for the bnei Yisroel was realized when the darkness immediately stopped. The "ohr" was only realized through the change from the fleeting moment of "choshech a'feiloh." The wicked, who are equated to "choshech," were removed, i.e. the wicked died during the 3 days of darkness. Thus we have an allusion to their dying during "choshech."

In D'vorim 7:15 the verse says "V'heisir Hashem mimcho kol choli," referring to the plagues that will come upon the nations at the end of days. They will be "removed" from you, meaning that then likewise, the plagues brought upon the nations will visit the bnei Yisroel for a fleeting moment. However, the plagues that Hashem has already visited upon the Egyptians, which our nation has already tasted, "kol madvei Mitzrayim horo'im asher yodato lo y'simom boch," you will not have to re-experience.

Ch. 12, v. 22: "Lo seitzu ish mi'pesach beiso ad boker" - No man shall leave from the door of his home until the morning - This command on its own was quite a test of their trust in Hashem. In general if one hears screaming at night emanating from his neighbour's home, he would quickly run there to offer help, and if a tragedy had taken place he would at least comfort him. The seemingly apathetic attitude exuded by not even going outdoors could easily flare up the anger of the Egyptians, especially when they have just suffered the death of a family member. (Rabbeinu Yonah)

Ch. 12, v. 29: "Hikoh chol b'chor" - Smote every firstborn - Rashi (Mechilta) says that EVERY includes even firstborn of another nation who were present in Egypt at the time of the plague. Perhaps this is stated in Nechemioh 10:9, where the verse says, "Vati'tein osos umofsim b'Pharoh uvchol avodov uvchol am artzo." Had the intention of the final words of this verse been to include the rest of the Egyptian populace, the verse should have said "uvchol artzo, uvchol Mitzrayim," or "uvchol amo," as we find by the ascent of the frogs (7:28), "orove" (8:17), hail (9:14), and locust (10:7). Why does this verse say "uvchol am artzo." We could well say that these words don't mean "and in ALL the nation of his land (Egypt)," but rather, "and in EVERY nation that happened to be in Egypt," i.e. their firstborn at the time of "makas b'choros." (Nirreh li)

Ch. 12, v. 32: "Kaasher dibartem vo'leichu" - As you have spoken and go - The numerical value of these words is the same as "L'chu al m'nas shelo lachazor." (Rabbeinu Efrayim)

Ch. 12, v. 33: "Ki omru kulonu meisim" - Because they said we are all dying/dead - Either they were afraid that another plague would wipe out the rest of the population once the firstborn were gone, or they were afraid that the present plague only began with the firstborn but would continue on with the rest. (Bchor Shor)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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