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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 10, v. 1: "Bo el Paroh ki ani hichbadti es libo v'es lev avodov l'maan shisi ososai eileh b'kirbo" - come to Paroh because I have hardened his and his servants' hearts so that I may place My signs these into him - These words seem self-contradictory. Since Hashem is telling Moshe that even now Paroh's heart is hardened there seems to be no reason to come to him and foretell the upcoming plague, as he will still remain adamant and will refuse to release the bnei Yisroel.

The following words, "l'maan shisi ososai eileh b'kirbo" resolve this issue. One of the reasons that Hashem has given Paroh and his nation so many plagues which were foretold by Moshe is so that the Egyptians and others recognize that Hashem runs the world. Thus, even though Hashem has hardened his and his servants' hearts, Moshe is told to once again appear in front of Paroh, not so that Paroh might acquiesce, but rather, to enact more plagues. (Yaalas Chein)

Alternatively, Hashem is explaining to Moshe that although Paroh has already refused numerous times to release the bnei Yisroel, and has acquired that status of "muchzak m'mo'ein," a steadfast refuser, and thus should not deserve having further warnings, nevertheless, Moshe is told to go again to warn him because Paroh's continual refusal is not of his own doing, but rather, Hashem hardens his heart. (Haa'meik Dovor)

Ch. 10, v. 8: "Mi vomi haholchim" - Who and who are those who go - Moshe responded that young and old, sons and daughters, and all their livestock. Why did Paroh ask who is going? If all the adults leave they would obviously take their children and cattle, as otherwise no one would feed them. However, we find that when Yaakov died the children and cattle were left behind, "Rak tapom v'tzonom uvkorom ozvu b'eterz Goshen" (Breishis 50:8). This incident taught Paroh that when the need arose they could leave their children and livestock behind.

Moshe responded that their purpose for leaving was to celebrate a Holiday for Hashem. Although when it comes to mourning there is no requirement to train under-aged children as is stated in the gemara Mo'eid Koton 14b, and this is why they were left behind, when it comes to celebrating a Holiday and to bring offerings to Hashem the gemara Chagigoh 2a says that we are to bring children on a pilgrimage. The animals must be brought along as possible offerings. (Rabbi Avigdor Nebentzal)

Ch. 10, v. 22,23: "Va'y'hi choshech a'feiloh b'chol eretz Mitzrayim shloshes yomim, V'lo komu ish mitachtov shloshes yomim" - And there was darkness of obscurity in all the land Egypt for three days, And no man could stand up from his location for three days - Rashi comments that the six days of darkness were of two intensities. The first three days there was a regular darkness and the second three had a thick palpable darkness that kept the Egyptians from moving. Rashi then asks why did Hashem bring darkness and he answers that the first three days allowed them to bury their own dead who were wicked and did not want to leave Egypt who died during this plague. The darkness allowed the bnei Yisroel to bury them unbeknownst to the Egyptians and the second group of three days was a more intense punishment.

There are numerous questions to raise on these words of Rashi. Why here does Rashi ask why this particular plague was brought upon the Egyptians? As well, why does he first detail the intensities of the darkness and only then ask why darkness was brought upon them?

The Tur O.Ch. #430 explains that the Shabbos before Pesach is called Shabbos Hagodol because of the great miracle that took place. The bnei Yisroel were commanded to take lambs and goats for the Paschal offering on the 10th of Nison, which was a Shabbos, and the Egyptians, notwithstanding that the sheep were their gods, miraculously stood by and did nothing to the bnei Yisroel. This BIG miracle is recounted by the appellation Shabbos Hagodol.

Now if the Egyptians were in the dark what was the great miracle? The darkness ended on the night of the 14th of Nison (gemara Brochos 4a) and counting back six days of darkness included the 10th, the day of taking the Paschal offerings. Since the first three days of darkness included Shabbos, and Rashi explains that during this time (assuming they buried them the day of their death, i.e. during the first set of three days) the bnei Yisroel buried their dead, obviously on Shabbos they did not do so, so there was no darkness on that day. This is why it was a miracle.

This explains Rashi's offering the two levels of darkness and then the reason for the plague of darkness, so that we understand how the taking of the Paschal offering was a miracle. (Pnei Yehoshua ksav yad)

There remains an issue. The verses each say "shloshes yomim," meaning a SET of three days. If so, the first three days must also be a continuum without a Shabbos gap. Yet the gemara cited earlier says that plague ended on the night of the 14th of Nison. If we were to say that since before matan Torah the days were a day and the following night and the gemara expresses itself with today's terms, a night and then the following day, the night of the 14th was actually the end of the 13th and the Shabbos fell out between the two sets of three days.

Ch. 12, v. 43: "Va'yomer Hashem el Moshe v'Aharon zose chukas ha'pesach" - And Hashem spoke to Moshe and Aharon this is the statute of the Paschal offering - We never find a Vov "hachibur" between Moshe and Aharon, whether the verse expresses itself in dibur or in amiroh, except here. The "ben neichor" of our verse is explained by Targum Onkelos to mean one who has committed "shmad." Since the Mechilta on parshas Yisro says that Moshe's grandson through Gershom was sold to idol worship and Moshe had great aggravation from this. However, at this moment it had not yet happened and the verse stresses through the Vov "hachibur" that Moshe was equal to Aharon, not having any relatives who were "bnei neichor." (Meshech Chochmoh)

Ch. 12, v. 43: "Va'yomer Hashem el Moshe v'Aharon zose chukas ha'pesach" - And Hashem spoke to Moshe and Aharon this is the statute of the Paschal offering - Rashi comments that this parsha was related on the 14th of Nison. Why indeed weren't these statutes included in the laws of the Paschal lamb taught on Rosh Chodesh?

In our parsha the law of a non-circumcised person is mentioned, that he may not partake of the korban Pesach. M.R. #19 relates that many of the bnei Yisroel refused to be circumcised. Hashem sent winds from all directions into Gan Eden, which picked up a most wonderful aroma and sent them into Moshe's Paschal lamb. The delightful smell wafted into the nostrils of those who refused to go through circumcision. Upon being told on that day that they were disqualified, they then agreed to be circumcised.

Had this information been conveyed to them on Rosh Chodesh, and they would have refused, they would not have been registered for a Paschal offering, "min hamnuyim," as the korban Pesach Mitzrayim required registration on the tenth of Nison. They would then not been able to eat the korban. This is why this information was conveyed on the 14th, so they were "min hamnuyim" not yet knowing of the circumcision restriction. (Mahari"l Diskin)



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

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