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LOVE AND HATE by Rabbi Reuven Semah

"And Hashem gave the people favor in the eyes of Egypt" (Shemot 11:19)

The Egyptian people were battered into a pulp! Seven plagues were heaped upon them in last week's perashah, and three more, even more devastating were foretold by Moshe in this week's perashah. Why were the Egyptians disgraced and pounded so hard? Because of the Jews! One might think that if the Egyptians were forced to free the Israelites, that's one thing. However, in their hearts you would expect intense hatred for the Jews. But, what actually happened was that the Egyptians fell in love with the Jews! On the other hand, during the years before the plagues, the Jews tried to get close to the Egyptians hoping that by being friendly it would temper the harsh treatment. The effect? Intense hatred by the Egyptians toward the Jews!

The lesson is obvious and simple. On the one hand we always must be courteous and respectful to the gentiles. However, the Ramban teaches us that our efforts don't really change the feelings of the nations of the world towards us. When you think they should hate us they love us and when you think they should love us they hate us. The only thing that helps us is the observance of misvot and listening to the will of Hashem. Hashem takes care of the rest. Shabbat Shalom.

by Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

"And let a man ask his friend for gold and silver" (Shemot 11:2)

The Jewish people were commanded to "borrow" gold and silver from the Egyptians to be able to serve G-d with these ornaments. Hashem willed it so in order that the Jews should be paid back for all their hard work which they contributed to Egypt. The question is: The Torah says they should ask their friends - "re'ehu"; were the Egyptians our friends? At best, they were our hosts, albeit very cruel and vicious ones to say the least. Why call them our friends?

One of the commentators says a novel idea. The Jews were first told to borrow from among themselves any gold and silver jewelry they might own. When they had done each other the kindness of lending to someone what they needed, then the Egyptians would be more amenable to doing the same thing. The word "re'ehu" - friend refers to the Jews themselves, that they should lend each other and then the Egyptians would follow suit.

The lesson is a truly powerful one. If we want to create a spirit of giving or sharing in the world, then we, the Jewish People have to act in that same way, and that will influence the nations to do the same. When we ask that Hashem show us mercy and tolerance and forgive us our faults, we have to be ready to do it first. That will cause that same spirit to be created in this world which in turn will cause Heaven to answer us measure for measure. We hold all the keys to Divine intervention. Let's use the right ones as often as we can. Shabbat Shalom.

Answer to pop quiz: A one-year old, male lamb or goat.

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