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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 6, v. 2: "Ani Hashem - I am Hashem - Moshe uttered four expressions of complaint at the end of the previous parsha, "lomoh zeh shlachtoni, lomoh ha'rei'oso, heira lo'om ha'zeh, v'hatzeil lo hitzalto" (Shmos 5:22,23). Correspondingly Hashem said "Ani Hashem." This counters the complaint of "lomoh ha'rei'oso." Hashem is the Name of kindness, and what Hashem requested of Moshe would turn out for the better. To "lomoh zeh shlachtoni" Hashem responded, "Vo'eiro el Avrohom." I have sent you to fulfill the promise to Avrohom. "Heira lo'om ha'zeh" is countered with "lo'seis lo'hem es eretz K'no'an." This is impossible without tribulations, as "Eretz Yisroel niknis bisurim." "V'hatzeil lo hitzalto" is countered with "v'hitzalti es'chem." (Tzror Hamor)

Ch. 6, v. 3: "Vo'eiro" - And I have appeared - This parsha and the following one, Bo, encompass the ten plagues. Once the 10th plague was finally visited upon Paroh and his nation, he agreed and eagerly sent the bnei Yisroel on their way out of slavery and out of his country. They collectively spent 210 years there. Vo'eiro and Bo, whose combined numerical value is 211, ushered in the 211th year from the time the bnei Yisroel began their exile in Egypt. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 6, v. 3: "Vo'eiro" - And I have appeared - As just mentioned, our parsha and the next one encompass the ten plagues. The first two letters of the name of our parsha plus the two letters of the following parsha, Bo, have the combined numerical value of 10, the 10 plagues. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 6, v. 3: "Vo'eiro" - And I have appeared - Rashi has a two-word comment on this, "El ho'ovos," to the Patriarchs. Commentators are hard-pressed to explain what light Rashi is shedding on the understanding of our verse. Some say that Rashi is alluding to the fact that each of the Patriarchs was a self-made man and did not coast along on the spiritual coattails of his father. Others translate "ovos" as "those who have a great lust," those who are emotionally driven to serve Hashem. This is all good and fine but does not explain Rashi's comment in a manner that is relevant to the verse. A new insight: The mishnoh B.K. 1:1 tells us that there are four primary types of damage, called "ovos n'zikin." The gemara says that where there are "ovos," there are also "toldos," secondary types of damages. The question that follows is, "Do the 'toldos' have the same rules as the 'ovos'"? The gemara cites the same term by the primary prohibited acts of Shabbos, called "ovos m'lochos," which likewise have "toldos," and the "toldos" do not have the same ruling as the "ovos" in regard to the number of required atonement offerings for multiple desecrations of the Shabbos when one is not aware that it is Shabbos. In short, the gemara says that the "toldos" are not the same as "ovos."

The gist of our verse is a reprimand of Moshe for complaining that things have gotten worse since he completed his mission and that no improvement was in sight. Hashem tells Moshe that He appeared to our Patriarchs and also promised them great things that they did not experience, and yet, they did not complain. Rashi, wanting to carry on the thrust of this point, but most covertly and delicately, as we are discussing Moshe, says "el ho'ovos." Where we have the term "ovos" it indicates that there are "toldos." The "toldos" are not the same as the "ovos." The "ovos," our Patriarchs, had complete faith and did not complain. The "toldos," the leader of the later generation, is not like his "ovos." (Nirreh li)

Ch. 6, v. 9: "Va'y'da'beir Moshe kein v'lo shomu el Moshe" - Moshe spoke thus and they did not listen to Moshe - Although in parshas Shmos we find that the bnei Yisroel believed Moshe, "Va'yaa'mein ho'om" (4:31), there is no change of mind here, as they still believed. Our verse is just telling us that the bnei Yisroel were now under such extreme duress that they did not have the capacity to let Moshe's words enter their hearts. Others posit that "v'lo shomu" was in the realm of lack of belief and go on to explain the weakening of belief. Our verse says that Moshe spoke "kein," like this. Perhaps it can be translated as "yes," in an affirmative positive manner. The letter Kof has the value of 500 when it is a final Kof. This is interchangeable with the letters Hei and Nun, whose values are 5 and 50 respectively. All three of these values are the same 5 in the "mispar koton" system of dropping 10's, 100's, etc. The Torah might be delicately criticizing Moshe for saying "v'HEIN lo yaaminu li" (Shmos 4:1). By doubting the bnei Yisroel's belief, Moshe planted the seeds of another HEIN=KEIN. (Nirreh li)

Rabbeinu Yoel says that the word "kein" alludes to Moshe's knowledge of 70 languages, the numerical value of "kein."

Ch. 6, v. 12: "Vaani aral s'fosoyim" - And I have clogged lips - Rashi explains that in response to Moshe's attempting to excuse himself for being reluctant to be Hashem's spokesman to Paroh because of his speech impairment, Hashem advised him that Aharon would accompany him and be the actual spokesman. If so, why was Moshe needed at all? Why not have Aharon do the task all on his own?

The gemara Brochos 6b says that if a person has fear of Heaven, his words are readily accepted. It follows that the greater level of fear of Heaven that a person has, the greater the likelihood of his words being accepted. Moshe, about whom the gemara Brochos 33b says had such an abundance of fear of Heaven that it was considered to him a minor matter, surely was the best man for the job. But because of his speech impediment Aharon was sent along. The above-mentioned gemara Brochos 6b brings as a proof for its statement the verse in Koheles 12:13, "Sof dovoR hakoL nishmO," in the end all will be heard, accepted, "es hoElokim y'ro," if the speaker has fear of Hashem. The final letters of "dovoR hakoL nishmO," spell "orel," the stopped-up lips of Moshe. Nevertheless, his words will be accepted. (K'dushas Zion of Bobov)

We might add that the final letters of the following three words, "eS hoElokiM y'rO," spell "emes." Because of Moshe's "yiras shomayim" even hard-hearted Paroh eventually saw the truth of his words. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 6, v. 16: "Ushnei cha'yei Levi sheva ushloshim um'as shonoh" - And the years of the life of Levi were seven and thirty and one-hundred years - Targum Yonoson ben Uziel writes that Levi lived long enough to see his descendants Moshe and Aharon. This is extremely difficult. Yoseif was 39 years old when his father and brothers descended to Egypt. Levi was 43 years old at that time. Aharon was born to Yocheved when she was 127 years old. Levi would have had to live 170 years to see Aharon and an additional 3 years to see Moshe.

Ch. 6, v. 18: "Ushnei cha'yei K'hos sholosh ushloshim um'as shonoh" - And the years of the life of K'hos were three and thirty and one-hundred years - Targum Yonoson ben Uziel writes that K'hos lived long enough to see Pinchos. This is likewise very difficult to comprehend. In Breishis 46:11 it says that K'hos descended to Egypt. Aharon was born 127 years into the Egyptian exile. Even if K'hos was a newborn baby, perhaps the older of the twins, he and M'rori, Aharon at the most would have been 10 years old when K'hos died. How could K'hos have seen Aharon's grandson Pinchos?

Ch. 6, v. 20: "Va'tei'led lo es Aharon v'es Moshe" - And she bore him Aharon and Moshe - Although she also gave birth to Miriam, this is not mentioned in our verse because the gist of this verse is to inform us of the lineage of those who brought about the redemption.

Ch. 6, v. 26: "Hu Aharon uMoshe" - They are Aharon and Moshe - Rashi explains the reversal of order in the next verse. Their order is interchangeable because they are equal. This is difficult to comprehend because one of the 13 tenets of our faith is that Moshe is unique among all the prophets, not only in his generation and the previous ones, but for all further generations as well. K'hilas Yitzchok answers that since Aharon was three years older than Moshe and had this extra time to develop even more in his spiritual stature, he was therefore less than Moshe subjectively, while at the same time being objectively his equal. This does very little to alleviate the problem.

Perhaps at this point in time they were still equal. See more on this in a previous Sedrah Selections on parshas Matos, where the concept of Moshe's development as a prophet is discussed.

Ch. 7, v. 9: "Mofeis" - A wonder - This word is sources from "pisom," suddenly, indicative of Paroh's demanding that they do a wondrous act immediately. Alternatively, it is sourced from the word "pituy," seduction. When one sees a truly wondrous happening he is readily convinced to believe what it indicates. (Rabbeinu Menachem)

In relation to "os," a sign: "Mofeis" is an indication of the greatness of the one who sends the agent, in this case, Hashem. This is needed for Paroh, who denied of the existence of Hashem. "Ose" is the choice of wording when done for the bnei Yisroel because it is used when indicating the greatness of the agent, in this case Moshe. The bnei Yisroel were strong in their faith in Hashem and needed no "mofeis." (Sforno)

Ch. 7, v. 9: "V'omarto el Aharon kach es matcho" - And say to Aharon take your staff - Rabbeinu Menachem says that this was actually Moshe's staff. Tell Aharon to take your staff. At first glance it would seem that Rabbeinu Menachem would explain the words of our verse as, "and say to Aharon 'take.'" What is it that he should take? It is your (Moshe's) staff. This is very stilted. Upon seeing Rabbeinu Menachem's comment on the next verse d.h. "va'yishlach" things are much clearer. He says that since Aharon was Moshe's agent, it is as if Aharon were Moshe. Thus "YOUR staff" is Aharon's staff, and all these words are a direct quote of the words to be related to Aharon.

Ch. 7, v. 9: "El Aharon" - To Aharon - This task was given to Aharon and not to Moshe because of the serpent component. Moshe spoke badly of the bnei Yisroel, assuming that their belief would be lacking. This is the occupation of the serpent, to speak negatively. It is therefore inappropriate to involve Moshe in this act. (Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel)

Ch. 7, v. 9: "Y'hi l'sanin" - It shall become a serpent - This is not relating what will take place. Rather it is a command to say the words "y'hi l'sanin." Upon throwing down the staff Aharon would say these two words and the staff would then turn into a serpent. This would result in Paroh's recognizing the greatness of the power of their words. (Rokei'ach, Moshav Z'keinim)

It could well be that they derive this interpretation from "y'hi l'sanin," and not "*V*ihi l'sanin," which would indicate that this would be the outcome. As well, it seems that they understood "v'omarto" as not only referring to what is to be said to Aharon, but also to what Aharon should say, "y'hi l'sanin."

Ch. 7, v. 12: "Va'yi'h'yu l'saninim" -And they became TO serpents - The Lamed prefix is problematic. Rabbeinu Bachyei explains that their staffs did not turn into actual serpents. Rather, they only took on the form of serpents. I don't understand how he will explain verse 10, which states that Aharon's staff became "L'sanin."

Ch. 7, v. 12: "Va'yivla ma'tei Aharon es matosom" - And Aharon's staff swallowed their staffs - We find the word "matosom" in one other place in the Torah, where the elders of the tribes placed their staffs together with Aharon's and in the morning they found that Aharon's sprouted blossoms and almonds (Bmidbar 17:21). This common word teaches us that there likewise, Aharon's staff swallowed all of theirs, and it expelled them when he took it back. (Baal Haturim)

Ch. 7, v. 15: "V'hama'teh asher nehpach l'nochosh" - And the staff that has been turned into a serpent - This is the staff that was used as a sign for the bnei Yisroel (4:3). It was inappropriate to bring along the staff that had Hashem's Holy Name etched into it, as Moshe was to meet Paroh at the Nile, a.k.a. the king's private toilet facility. (Moshav Z'keinim)

Ch. 7, v. 17: "B'zose teida" - Through this you will know - The wording of this warning corresponds to Paroh's disrespectful "LO YODATI es Hashem" (5:2). (Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel)

Ch. 7, v. 17: "V'nehefchu l'dom" - And they will change into blood - The Malbim writes that only the final plague of smiting of the first-born was a motivation to send the bnei Yisroel to freedom. The 3rd, 6th, and 9th were outright punishment, while the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 7th, and 8th were for educational purposes, to teach him the 3 "l'maan teida"s.

Ch. 7, v. 17: "V'nehefchu l'dom" - And they will change into blood - We are well acquainted with the order of the plagues, "dom, tzfardei'a, kinim," etc. However, we find a different order in T'hilim 105. Rabbi Yehudoh Chosid writes that his father resolved this discrepancy by positing that the plagues visited the Egyptians twice, the first time following the order of the Torah, and the second following the order in T'hilim (not all plagues are mentioned there). He adds that the intention of Rabbi Yehudoh with the mnemonic "d'tzach adash b'achav" was to teach those who would bring their "bikurim" offerings, who are required to give thanks for Hashem's saving us from our adversaries, going all the way back to the history of our Patriarchs, that when they relate the plagues from which they were spared, that they mention them in the order of the Torah only.

Ch. 7, v. 19: "V'yi'h'yu dom v'hoyoh dom" - And they will become blood and there will be blood - The seeming redundancy is obvious. Shmos Rabboh 9:10 relates that the bnei Yisroel became wealthy as a result of the plague of blood. The bnei Yisroel directly benefited from this plague, while at the same time it was to the double detriment of the Egyptians. They suffered from lack of water and from paying exorbitant prices for drinking water. The gemara Megiloh and M.R. say that "VA'y'hi" (or the like, as in our verse "v'yi'h'yu") indicates WOE, suffering. V'hoyoh" is an expression of joy. Our verse tells us that for the Egyptians the water turning to blood will be "v'yi'h'yu" and for the bnei Yisroel "v'hoyoh." (Niflo'os Chadoshos)

Ch. 7, v. 19: "V'hoyoh dom b'chol eretz Mitzroyim" - And it will become blood throughout the land of Egypt - This includes water that will be imported from another country. (Rabbeinu Menachem)

Ch. 7, v. 19: "Uvo'eitzim uvo'avonim" - And in the wooden vessels and in the stone vessels - The verse does not mention water that was in metal vessels. It seems that water stored in metal vessels was unaffected. This is a source for the custom of placing a piece of metal into a vessel in which water is stored when the seasonal "t'kufoh" is about to take place. The Ram"o O.Ch. #455 mentions that there is a danger to drink such water unless a piece of metal was placed into the vessel before the "t'kufoh" change took place. This also explains why Paroh did not take this devastating plague to heart. He had an abundance of metal vessels in which he stored water before the plague came. (Yalkut Ho'eizovi)

Trumas Ha'deshen in Biu'rei Mahara"i disagrees with this proof. He says that earthenware vessels are also not mentioned in this verse and it cannot be said that the water they contain at the time of the "t'kufoh" is likewise unaffected, as mentioned in the Mordechai on gemara P'sochim #593.

Ch. 7, v. 20: "Va'yeihofcho l'dam" - And they turned into blood - As mentioned in the previous verse, Shmos Rabboh 9:10 relates that the bnei Yisroel became wealthy as a result of the plague of blood. The Egyptians were extremely thirsty and any water they tried to drink became blood. A barrel of water from which the bnei Yisroel drank was blood for an Egyptian. If the Egyptian paid for the water it remained water. This brought riches for the bnei Yisroel. What need was there for the bnei Yisroel to be wealthy at this point in time? Hashem promised Avrohom (Breishis 15:14) and Moshe (Shmos 3:22) that the bnei Yisroel would leave Egypt with great wealth.

The gemara B.B. 116a states that abject poverty is worse than 50 plagues. According to Rabbi Akiva (Hagodoh Shel Pesach) the Egyptians in Egypt were visited with 50 plagues. The Egyptians nevertheless would have viewed the bnei Yisroel as worse than they because abject poverty is worse than 50 plagues. It was therefore necessary to give them wealth before their exodus to elevate their status in the eyes of the Egyptians (11:3) so they would willingly lend/give them their possessions. (Zera Shimshon)

Ch. 7, v. 21: "V'hadogoh asher ba'y'or meisoh" - And the fish in the river died - I have been puzzled by the word "dogOH" of our verse for numerous years according to a comment made by Rabbeinu Bachyei. In parshas B'haalos'cho on the words "zocharnu es hadogoh" (11:5) he comments that "dogoh" means rotted dead fish, in contra-distinction with "dag," a live fish. The bnei Yisroel complained of their lack of even smelly putrid fish. He bolsters this with a verse in Yonah. "Dogoh" of our verse seems to be contrary to his words, as it states that "dogoh" died, thus seemingly clearly indicating that "dogoh" are alive. However, Rabbeinu Menachem translates "meisoh" not as "died," but rather as "were dying." He brings a proof for this translation from Breishis 35:18, "Va'y'hi b'tzeis nafshoh ki MEISOH." The verse tells us that even before they died from ingesting the blood of the river, they so deteriorated that even when still alive they gave off such a stench that the Nile had a terrible odour. This is in keeping with Rabbeinu Bachyei, as the thrust of "dogOH" is not that they are dead, but rather that they are malodourous. This is usually only true of dead fish, but in our case they had this characteristic even when still alive.

Ch. 8, v. 4: "Vayikra Faroh l'Moshe ul'Aharon va'yomer hatiru" - And Paroh called to Moshe and Aharon and he said pray - In verse 5 we find only Moshe asking for a time to bring the plague to an end, "l'mosai ATIR." Similarly in verse 8 we find only Moshe praying, "va'yitzak Moshe." Ibn Ezra and Ramban say that as a courtesy to Aharon, who was present, Paroh included him in the request, but it is obvious that only Moshe was intended. However, Mahar"i Bruna writes that he asked both to pray, Moshe to pray for the removal of frogs from Paroh, and Aharon from the rest of the nation. He proves this from the end of verse 8, "Va'yitzak Moshe el Hashem al dvar hatzfardim asher SOM L'FAROH."

Ch. 8, v. 4: "Hatiru" - Pray - During the previous plague of blood we do not find Paroh pleading with Moshe and Aharon to pray for the removal of the plague. We continue to see an inconsistency by the rest of the plagues in this matter as well. This is explained by the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh. Blood caused Paroh no severe difficulties as he had or purchased drinking water. The frogs entered his living quarters and his body as well. He was in acute discomfort and in peril of death as well. He therefore asked for them to pray. Lice were very uncomfortable, but posed no serious health danger, so he did not ask for prayers for their removal. The mixture of wild beasts so scared him that he temporarily agreed to even send the bnei Yisroel out, and even when he rescinded this offer he pleaded for prayers on his behalf. The pestilence that killed the livestock did not impact upon Paroh that much because it only affected animals, (and he planned to replenish them from nearby nations), hence no request for prayers. Boils were only a nuisance, but posed no danger to life, hence again there is no request for prayers. Possibly Paroh himself was not afflicted as the verse does not mention that the boils came upon him specifically. The hail was accompanied by extreme thunder, which scared Paroh greatly, as he feared that there might be a devastating repeat of what happened to S'dom and Amorah. He therefore asked for prayers. Locust were equated to death by Paroh's own admission, therefore he again asked for prayers to bring this plague to an immediate end. During the first three days of darkness perhaps Paroh managed by having many lanterns lit, and during the next three days, since all Egyptians were unable to move, he was stymied. The first opportunity to communicate with Moshe afterwards was also after the plague drew to a close on its own, hence no request for prayers.

Ch. 8, v. 5: "L'mosai atir l'cho" - For when shall I pray for you - Rashi explains that Moshe told Paroh that he would pray immediately. He was only asking Paroh for his preference of when the removal of the frogs should take place.

Perek Shiroh has become popular of late. It is a list of different creatures and the verse that corresponds to their nature/purpose/praise in service of Hashem. All "shiros" are verses from Tanach, save that of the frog. It is, "Boruch shem k'vod malchuso l'olom vo'ed." Why is this an appropriate expression for frogs? We know that we say this phrase right after the blessing of "al mitzvas tefillin" (not every man recites this second blessing on tefillin), after the verse of "Shma," and immediately after we inadvertently say a blessing that includes Hashem's name in vain. They all have one thing in common that is "remedied" with "boruch shem " Whenever we invoke Hashem's name, ideally it has to be invested in an item, action, or concept that totally absorbs this level of holiness. When we invoke Hashem's Name in vain it has not been used to sanctify anything. We therefore say that His Name should be blessed "l'olom vo'ed," meaning that hopefully in the future the Name just mentioned should find a place or situation to sanctify. Similarly, when we recite a blessing upon donning our head tefillin this is required. When one wears his head tefillin they should ideally bring fear into the hearts of the nations, "v'yoru mi'meko." However, this is unfortunately not the case at the present time. We say "Boruch shem," thus verbalizing the hope that in the future this will change.

Similarly by "Shma," the verse says that at the present Hashem is only "our G-d," "ElokeiNU." This means that although He is the Master of the universe, He is only recognized as such by our nation. We therefore also invoke "Boruch shem," indicating that in the future this will change, "ba'yom hahu yi'h'yeh Hashem echod ushmo echod" (Zecharioh 14:9). The plague of frogs was the only situation where Moshe would pray, surely invoking Hashem's Name, where he would ask for no immediate results, as per Paroh's request that they be removed tomorrow. Here too, the Name of Hashem is not invested into the removal of the plague immediately, as the results would only take place on the morrow. This requires recitation of "Boruch shem." This is why this phrase is appropriate for frogs. (Hadrash V'ho'iyun)

Ch. 8, v. 5: "Atir l'cho v'laavo'decho ul'amcho" - I will beseech for you and your servants and your nation - The verse immediately goes on to say "to cut off the frogs from you and your household." Since Moshe specified that the prayer would be to remove the plague from Paroh and his household, why did he say that he would pray for Paroh's servants and nation? Perhaps "l'hachris" means to have them die, and all those who came to Paroh and his palaces indeed died. Those who remained alive and returned to the "y'ore" were those who were willing to give up their lives by entering the heated ovens. Read the verse as follows: "I will pray for you and your slaves and your nation (that they all be relieved of the plague), to cut off the frogs (having them die) will only be from you and your palaces, only in the body of water will they remain (those who entered the ovens in the homes of the rest of the nation). (Nirreh li)

Ch. 8, v. 7: "V'soru" - And they will turn away - In verse 9, where we see the results of Moshe's prayer, the verse does not say "soru," but rather, "va'yomusu." Why the change? Had Moshe prayed that the frogs die they would have died in the Egyptians innards and they would have decomposed and poisoned the Egyptians. He therefore prayed that they should leave the Egyptians alive. Verse 9 tells us that they died immediately, but only those who were in the houses, yards, and fields, as there would be no adverse affects to the Egyptian's bodies. (Presumably, those who left the Egyptians' bodies died as well, as we find "rak ba'y'ore tisho'arnoh.") (Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel)

I have difficulty understanding this, as in verse 7 we find that "soru" applies to "umibo'techo" as well.

Ch. 8, v. 8: "Al dvar hatzfardim" - About the matter of the frogs - Why does the verse reiterate that the plague was frogs? Why does the next verse mention that Hashem did Moshe's bidding and not simply say that He removed the plague, as we find by other plagues? This is because the verse has numerous times said that the frogs ascended (verses 1,2,3,), and one might believe that they came, albeit in abundance, as a natural phenomenon. This is why the verse restates that the frogs were specifically a plague, their removal came through prayer, and they came because of Paroh's obstinacy. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)

Ch. 8, v. 10: "Va'yitz'b'ru osom chomorim chomorim" - And they collected them into piles and piles - We find the word "chomorim" in Bmidbar 11:32 as well, where the Torah relates that he who collected the least amount of "slov" collected at least the volume of 10 "chomorim."

Medrash Habiur says that the connection is that just as we find there that each person collected at least ten "chomorim," so too, we require 10 adult men to be present to create the quorum of a "minyan," as our verse expresses itself with "va'yitz'b'ru," and they had a "tzibur," a quorum.

Ch. 8, v. 13: "Va'yaasu chein" - And they did so - Here we have the first plague that was brought upon Egypt with no previous warning. We find the same with the 6th and 9th plague. Rabbi Yaakov of Orleans explains that these required no warning as these plagues were to an extent, natural phenomena. I have some difficulty with the component of the plague of darkness that was tangible. Perhaps because the basic plague of darkness is natural, the intensity added from day four onwards is not an issue.

Ch. 8, v. 14: "Va'yaasu chein hachartumim b'lo'tei'hem l'hotzi es hakinim v'lo yocholu" - And the sorcerers acted similarly with their chants to extract the lice and they were unable - Abarbanel explains these words in a manner that is totally contrary to our common understanding. He says that the sorcerers were successful in producing lice, just as they were with blood and frogs. However, Paroh had his fill of lice and asked them to produce lice and then immediately get rid of them, so as not to exacerbate the problem.

This they were not able to do. With this approach a number of terms used are more readily understood than with our conventional interpretation. The verse says, "Va'yaasu chein," and they did likewise. According to Rashi this would mean that they "attempted" to do likewise. According to the Abarbanel they were successful in doing likewise, as they actually produced more lice. According to Rashi "l'hotzi" is a bit stilted, and a better choice of wording seems to be "laasos kinim," similar to "va'yaasu chein" in verse 3 by the frogs. According to the Abarbanel it is very well understood. "L'hotzi es hakinim v'lo yocholu" is one continuous phrase. When it came to REMOVING the lice, they were unable. However, it would seem to flow more smoothly if there were no Vov before the word "V'lo," and if it were placed at the beginning of "l'hotzi," and read "Ul'hotzi es hakinim lo yocholu."

Ch. 8, v. 14: "Va'yaasu chein hachartumim b'lo'tei'hem l'hotzi es hakinim v'lo yocholu" - And the sorcerers attempted to do likewise with their chants to extract the lice and they were unable - Rashi (gemara Sanhedrin 67b) says that they were unable to produce lice because "sheidim" have no mastery over a creature that is smaller than a barley-corn.

Daas Z'keinim (M.R.) writes that they were unable to produce lice through witchcraft because the lice were so prolific that they literally covered the land completely. People stood upon a layer of lice. Witchcraft is impotent when the magician is not standing on the ground itself (gemara Yerushalmi Chagigoh 2:2).

Rashi and Daas Z'keinim do not disagree. Rather, they supplement each other. Rashi explains why through "maa'sei sheidim" they were unsuccessful, while Daas Z'keinim explains why through magic they were unsuccessful. The reason Rashi does not deal with magic is simply because in 7:11 we find "b'laHAtei'hem" and in 7:22 we find "b'la'teihem." Rashi (gemara Sanhedrin 67b) says that the former is "kishuf," magic, while the latter is through the power of destructive spirits. Since our verse says that they were unable to produce lice through LAT, not LAHAT, Rashi, who sticks to explaining the verse, explains why this profession brought no results.

Daas Z'keinim expands beyond the verse and explains why they were also unable to get results through their other skill. (R' Y.M.G.)

Following through with this insight, 8:3 is well understood. The verse says that the sorcerers produced frogs with their power of LAT. A frog is a creature that is larger than a barley-corn so they were successful. Although I readily admit to having no knowledge of LAT or LAHAT, nevertheless, at first glance it would seem logical when given the choice of using either LAT or LAHAT, LAHAT would be the preferred choice, as it does not involve summoning destructive forces, which engender the danger of having them turn upon those who summon them. However, since the previous verse relates that the frogs covered the land, "vat'chas," we have exactly the same situation as with the lice, that the magicians were not standing upon terra firma, hence only LAT was at their disposal. This understanding of this verse likewise preempts a need for Rashi here in verse 14 to forewarn why they did not attempt to invoke magic to produce lice, as it is derived from 8:3. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 8, v. 15: "Etzba Elokim - The finger of Elokim - We find Hashem's handiwork described as his "finger-work" in two other places, by the creation of the galaxies, "maa'sei et'b'o'secho" (T'hilim 8:4), and the Holy Tablets, "k'subos b'etzba Elokim" (Shmos 31:18). Rabbeinu Bachyei says that this teaches us that Hashem's creations, be they gigantic as the galaxies, most holy, as the "luchos," exceedingly small and lowly, as lice, are all equally miniscule (in effort of creating) in His eyes.

Ch. 8, v. 16: "Hashkeim baboker v'hisyatzeiv lifnei Faroh hi'nei yotzei hamoymoh" - Rise early in the morning and place yourself in front of Paroh behold he goes out to the body of water - This is the second time that Moshe is told to meet Paroh by the water. The first time, as mentioned in 7:15 states, "Leich el Paroh baboker hi'nei yotzei hamaimoh v'nitzavto likroso." We note two glaring differences between these two commands. In the earlier verse Moshe is told to go to Paroh in the morning, while here he is told to get up early in the morning. Earlier, Paroh's going to the water is mentioned ahead of Moshe's being told to stand in front of him, while here, Moshe's standing in front of Paroh precedes Paroh's going to the water.

This is readily understood based on the medrash 11:2. The medrash relates that Paroh was bothered by Moshe's continual visits to the palace. He therefore decided to leave extra early for his aquatic activities and Moshe would not find him in the palace. Hashem, being aware of Paroh's thoughts, therefore told Moshe to now get up early, and to appear in front of Paroh BEFORE he leaves to go to the water.

Ch. 8, v. 18: "V'hifleisi" - And I will differentiate - Rashi comments: "V'hifrashti." He adds that the same translation applies later in 9:4, "v'hifloh Hashem." Yet when we see Rashi on 9:4 we note that he says "v'hivdil." We have "asher yafleh" in 11:7, and Rashi says, "yavdil." Since Rashi says that the same translation applies to "v'hifloh" why does he comment at all there? Secondly, why does he use a different word, "havdoloh," rather than "hafroshoh"? Why does he again comment on 11:7? Any help would be appreciated.

Ch. 8, v. 22: "Derech shloshes yomim" - Three days' travel - Was this request for a three-day hiatus not misleading in the least and an outright lie at most, since Moshe's intention was to permanently leave? (We have offered numerous answers to this in previous editions.)

The verse in Hoshei'a 6:2 says, "Y'cha'yeinu miyomayim bayom hashlishi y'kaimeinu v'nichyeh l'fonov." This is explained by the Noam Elimelech in parshas Mikeitz to mean that Hashem will keep us intact in spite of the destruction of the two Botei Mikdosh, and when He will build the third, He will establish it permanently, and we will continue from that time on to live in peace.

Commentators ask about the early exodus from Egypt, as there should have been 400 years of exile, while in fact the bnei Yisroel were only in Egypt for 210 years. A common answer is that the shortfall would be completed in later exiles. They took place when the Botei Mikdosh were destroyed.

We can thus say that Moshe alluded to this explanation. When telling Paroh that the bnei Yisroel would leave even though 400 years had not yet passed since the beginning of their exile, "derech shloshes yomim neileich," we will make it up in the future, as two days refer to the destruction of two Botei Mikdosh and further exiles. However, Moshe said that eventually there would be a permanent Beis Hamikdosh when the exiles will be completed. (Rabbi Shlomo Halberstam Admor of Bobov)



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

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