Meir Tzvi Berman

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Parshas Va’era

Exodus 7:23

Vayefen Paroh Vayavo El Bayso V’lo Shus Leebo Gam Lazos.

And Pharaoh turned and went to his house. And he didn’t pay attention to this as well.

All the water in Egypt changed to blood and the people had no water to drink. Understandably, this had great ramifications, as it affected the entire economy as well. Yet, Pharaoh paid no attention to all this!


The Egyptians were able to obtain water from the Jews, but only if they paid for it. Since Pharaoh raised Moshe, it was considered as though he had paid for his own water supply. Therefore, the water is Pharaoh’s home did not change to blood. Pharaoh did not pay attention to the problem because he was not personally affected by it.
· Meshech Chochma

Exodus 8:7

Vi’soru Ha’tze’fardi’im…

And the frogs will go away.

Moshe told Pharaoh that he would pray to Hashem (G-d) and Hashem will remove the frogs as a result of his prayer. It seems that Moshe was quite sure that his prayer would be answered in this instance.

Later in the Torah, when the Jewish people spoke improperly towards Hashem and Moshe (Numbers 21:4-9), Hashem sent serpents and scorpions to punish them. Moshe did not user prayer to remove them in that instance. Why?

Prayer is a form of speech and the Jewish people sinned with their speech. When a person speaks improperly of others, Hashem will be inclined to hear improper things about the speaker, as well. Since the speaker decided to focus solely on the faults of his "victim", in judging the speaker, Hashem will decide to focus solely on his faults. Moshe’s prayers, were therefore of no avail in the second situation.
· Chofetz Chaim

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Jerusalem, Israel