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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 6, v. 8: "V'nosati osoh lochem moroshoh" - And I will give it to you as an inheritance - "Yerushoh" is an inheritance that one receives, while "moroshoh" is something that is left as an inheritance to others. Indeed, the people Moshe addressed would not be those who themselves would inherit Eretz Yisroel. They would give it as an inheritance to the next generation. (Tur) It seems that the generation of those who left Egypt are considered as giving over an inheritance, rather than the verse saying that the land will be an inheritance for the next generation, because according to one opinion in the gemara B.B. 117b the land was apportioned according to those who left Egypt, and not those who entered Eretz Yisroel.

Ch. 7, v. 17: "Hi'nei onochi ma'keh bama'teh asher b'yodi" - Behold I will smite with the staff that is in my hand - The Ibn Ezra has a problem with these words. If they are a direct quote from Hashem, then "with the staff that is in My hand" is inaccurate. If these are Aharon's independent words then "I will smite" is inaccurate, because Hashem is doing the smiting. He answers that there is an understood "I, Hashem's agent," "SHLUCHO," to be added. Hashem smites in conjunction with the staff that is in Aharon's hand.

Ch. 7, v. 24: "Va'yach'p'ru" - And they dug - The Ibn Ezra says that a number of the plagues affected the bnei Yisroel as well according to the straightforward reading of the verses. This comment seems to be most disturbing. Avi Ezer, a commentary on the Ibn Ezra writes that students who transcribed the words of the Ibn Ezra have inaccurately copied his words. However, the Tur accepts the words of the Ibn Ezra as stated. He says that the Ibn Ezra's distancing the words of our Rabbis and his pursuit of the simple written word have brought him to this opinion. He then resoundingly disagrees with the Ibn Ezra.

Ch. 8, v. 6: "Va'yo'meir l'mochor" - And he said "tomorrow" - Rashi says that Paroh asked for a one day delay in the removal of the frogs because he thought that Moshe knew that they would of themselves leave today. By requesting a delay he hoped to expose Moshe as not being the agent of Hashem. The Tur brings that Paroh meant, "I wish that they will be removed as early as tomorrow, for I fear that they will be here for a long time." He also offers that "tomorrow" is a continuation of Paroh's agreeing to set the bnei Yisroel free, "vaashalchoh es ho'om" (verse 4). When? "L'mochor."

Ch. 8, v. 8: "Va'yitzak Moshe el Hashem" - And Moshe screamed to Hashem - Why was it necessary for Moshe to scream?

1) The mishnoh Brochos 15a says that one who prays the "Shma" has to hear his own words. The frogs croaked so loudly that Moshe had no choice but to scram to be able to hear his own words of supplication. (Maharsh"al)

2) The terrible noise of the frogs croaking was in and of itself one aspect of the plague. To bring this to an end required entreaty in kind. (Zichron Sholo-m)

3) Note that our verse ends with the words "al dvar hatz'fardim asher som l'Pharoh," - regarding the matter of the frogs that He placed for Paroh. This means that Paroh only requested that the frogs that disturbed him (and his people) be removed. However, those that are normally found in the wild should remain. We indeed find that this happened as the verse states "rak ba'y'or tisho'arnoh" (verse 5). We thus have Moshe praying for removal of the frogs from one area but not from another. There is a maxim in the gemara Sanhedrin 64a that when Hashem gives, i.e. hearkens to a prayer, it is not done halfway. Since Moshe requested an exception to this rule he had to put in much effort and scream. (Sforno)

4) Moshe predicated his praying to Hashem for removal of the frogs with, "his po'eir olai l'mosai atir l'cho .. l'hachris hatz'fardim." Since he put his reputation on the line here more than by any other prayer for removal of a plague, he prayed extra hard that it be removed and at the set time as well. (Tzror Hamor and Abarbenel)

5) Because Moshe seemed to be taking some credit for the plague, saying, "hispo'eir OLAI" (verse 5), his prayers were not heard until he put in much effort, through screaming. (Tur)

Ch. 8, v. 9: "Va'yomusu hatzfardim" - And the frogs died - Didn't Moshe say that they would leave, "v'soru hatzfardim" (verse 4)? The Tur answers that "v'soru hatzfardim" means the plague of frogs would leave.

Ch. 8, v. 12: "N'tei es matcho" - Stretch out your staff - Throughout Hashem's telling Moshe to usher in the plagues we find commands to stretch a hand, a staff, a hand with a staff in it. Although reasons have to be given for each variation in the words used, in reality there was stretching of a hand with the staff by each plague. (Tur)

Ch. 8, v. 15: "Etzba" - Finger - At this point Paroh's sorcerers admitted that the supernatural happenings came from Hashem. The word "etzba," spelled Alef-Tzadi-Beis-Ayin is an acronym for "Ein Tzorich B'dikoh Ode," - there is no more need for investigation. (Chomas Anoch in the name of Netzach Yisroel al haTorah)

Ch. 8, v. 15: "Etzba Elokim hee" - It is the finger of Elokim - The gemara Eiruvin 21a derives from the verse "V'shomayim ba'zerres ti'kein" (Yeshayohu 40:12), that this world has the dimensions of cubit squared, which in turn is one hand-span squared, in the measurements used by Hashem. A cubit equals 6 fists, "t'fochim," and each "tefach" equals 5 small fingers' width (gemara M'nochos 41b). Thus a cubit equals 15 finger widths. The girth of the complete world is 6,000 "parsoh," and the gemara P'sochim 94a states that Egypt is 400 "parsoh" squared. Thus the ratio of Egypt to the whole world is 400 to 6,000, of 1/15th of the world. The whole world is 15 of Hashem's finger widths, thus Egypt, which is 1/15th of the world, is one finger's width. This is the intention of Paroh's sorcerers. They said that the plague is one finger of Hashem, meaning that it has totally encompassed Egypt. (Drush Shmuel)

Ch. 8, v. 19: "V'samti f'dus" - The concept of "mesoroh" has been discussed in the past. A certain word or group of words appearing in a limited number of places connects the concepts of those verses. As mentioned on other occasions, this is often found in the Baal Haturim. Besides in our verse, we find the word "P'dus" in two other places, in T'hilim 111:9, "P'dus sholach l'amo," and again in T'hilim 130:7, "V'harbei imo F'DUS."

The connection is explained by Rabbi Yehudoh Asad in Divrei Mahari"a. The gemara Sanhedrin 98a states that our long-awaited redemption can come in one of two ways, either at its predestined time as a fulfillment of Hashem's prophecy and a sanctification of His Holy Name, or earlier, dependent upon merits. A difference between these two manners of redemption is that if it comes early by way of the bnei Yisroel's merits even the wicked among us will have redemption riding on the coat tails of the righteous. If however, the redemption comes at its predestined time and is lacking special merit, only the righteous will be redeemed.

Thus the verses in T'hilim state, "Yacheil Yisroel el Hashem ki im Hashem hache'sed," - the bnei Yisroel will yearn for Hashem's redemption. However, "v'harbei imo f'dus," - there is more than one manner of redemption, as stated earlier. Thus if the redemption is in a manner of sanctifying Hashem's name only, i.e. at its predestined time, "l'maan teida ki ani Hashem b'ke'rev ho'oretz," then "v'samti f'dus bein ami," I will have to show a differentiation between those who are called "ami," my righteous ones, and between "a'mecho," those who are not righteous, as in "ki shicheis amcho" (Shmos 32:7). However, if "p'dus sholach l'amo," if the redemption is sent because of the merit of "amo," His nation, "tzivoh l'olom briso," His covenant of redemption will be for all His nation.

Ch. 8, v. 25: "V'sor he'orove" - And the mixture of wild animals will leave - The M.R. 10:6 says that although the frogs died and remained in Egypt, the wild animals did not. Had they died their carcasses and hides could have been beneficial for the Egyptians. This is why they were removed from the country. The Tur says that on a simple level we can say that the frogs that became a plague came into existence through a miraculous population explosion. Once the plague drew to a croaking end the excess died. There was no increase in wild animals. The miracle was that they came to Egypt in great numbers. Once the plague was over they returned to their original locations.

Ch. 8, v. 26: "Va'yetar el Hashem" - And he prayed to Hashem - The Chasam Sofer explains why here the word "va'yetar" is used, while by the prayer for the removal of frogs "va'yitzak" is used. The gemara Sukoh 14a tells us that the word form Ayin-Tof-Reish also has the meaning of a pitchfork. Just as a pitchfork turns hay over completely, so too, the prayers of the righteous can totally turn around an edict of bad to good. By the end of the plague of frogs there was no total relief, as when they died they were piled up. Upon their decomposition the Egyptians were left with piles of rotting stench, "vativash ho'oretz" (verse 10). Here by the plague of wild animals, they all left, and there was complete relief.

I have difficulty understanding the use of "va'yetar" by the end of the plague of locust (10:18). Although they totally left Egypt, had they remained it would have been more advantageous for the Egyptians as per Rashi on 10:19 d.h. "lo nishar." In this case total removal was not a total turn around. Even more perplexing is the use of this same word form by the plague of frogs itself, when Moshe said "l'mosai ATIR l'cho" (verse 5). Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Ch. 9, v. 27: "Hashem hatzadik" - Hashem is the Righteous One - Why did Paroh admit this at this point in time? It is because with this plague Hashem sent advice on how to save the cattle. (Tur)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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