Meir Tzvi Berman

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Parsha Va'era


"Hu Aharon V'Moshe" "They are Aharon (Aaron) and Moshe (Moses)"
When the Torah mentions Moshe and Aharon, sometimes Moshe's name is listed first and at other times Aharon's name gets first mention. Rashi comments that this interchangeability of order indicates (getting first mention in the Torah is usually a result of being greater or better) that they were equally great men. It is well established in Jewish tradition that Moshe was the greatest prophet of all time. Moshe is also the one who brought us the Torah. How is it conceivable that Aharon's stature can be considered equivalent to that of Moshe's? In which respect is Aharon considered to be the equal of Moshe, the most important leader in Jewish history? Hashem judges people not merely by what they have accomplished, but rather by what degree they have reached their potential in their service of Hashem. If a person of limited energies fully dedicates himself to the service of Hashem, he is considered more meritorious than a more accomplished person who has not harnessed all of his resources. In the final analysis, effort is Hashem's main criteria when judging people. By this yardstick, Aharon is considered to be Moshe's equal. Moshe actually had greater resources, yet both brothers channeled their respective energies to Hashem with equal perfection. (Darash Moshe)


"Vayomer Moshe L'Pharoah Hispoer Olai L'mosai Aatir L'cho V'Lavodecha V'Lamcho L'Hachris Hatzfardiim Mimcho U'Mibotecha Rak B'yeor Tisharno Vayomer L'Mochor"

"And Moshe (Moses) said to Pharaoh "Brag over me as to when I should pray for you and for your servants and for your nation to eliminate the frogs from you and your homes, only in the river they will remain" And he said "Tomorrow".

Pharaoh suffered greatly from the Plague of Frogs. Frogs croaked without respite anywhere he would turn. Upon being offered relief however, he chose to live with the plague for an extra day by (surprisingly!) requesting that the frogs be removed the next day instead. Why didn't he ask to be freed from the plague immediately? Although, Moshe had brought clear signs that he was indeed a divine messenger, Pharaoh wished to delude himself into thinking that the plagues were not heavenly retribution for enslaving the Jews. He wished to believe that the plagues were produced by black magic, and that Moshe was nothing but a sorcerer. Therefore, when Moshe offered to remove the frogs, Pharaoh convinced himself that Moshe was not in complete control over the plagues and that his power to remove the plague was limited to that particular moment. Such a lack of control would suggest that the plagues were limited to the rules of sorcery which dictate specific instants as auspicious for conjuring magic.

Moshe indicated to Pharaoh that he could drive the frogs away through prayer at any given time, but Pharaoh assumed that Moshe expected him to request immediate removal of the frogs and that the options presented him were merely a ruse. Pharaoh therefore asked that the plague be removed only the next day. He hoped to "call Moshe's bluff" and expose Moshe as just a magician who would be completely powerless to stop the plague on the following day.

Pharaoh, although he knew in his heart that Hashem wanted him to let the Jews go, desperately clung to every straw of false hope that he would not face justice for enslaving the Jews. An obstinate person will go great lengths to avoid facing the truth.

(Chasam Sofer)

Courtesy of JewishAmerica (

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