Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Va'era

Genuinely Jolted

By Rabbi Pinchas Avruch

After Pharaoh stubbornly endured the first six plagues - blood, frogs, lice, wild beasts, epidemic and boils - at times considering letting the Jewish nation leave and at times not even going that far, he made a significant concession after the seventh plague, hail. "Pharaoh sent and summoned Moshe and Aaron and said to them, 'This time I have sinned; G-d is the righteous one and I and my people are the wicked ones.'" (Shemos/Exodus 9:27) What about this particular plague compelled Pharaoh to make such an admission?

The Da'as Zekainim me'Ba'alei Tosfos (collection of comments on the Torah by the Tosafists of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries) explains that prior to the onset of the hail, G-d had Moshe warn Pharaoh and the Egyptians, "And now send, gather in your livestock and everything you have in the field; all the people and animals that are found in the field that are not gathered in the house, the hail shall descend upon them and they shall die." (9:19) Pharaoh was conceding G-d's righteousness in offering ample warning while he and his countrymen were wicked for not giving any credence to the warning, thus allowing their cattle to be killed.

But Pharaoh was warned about most of the previous plagues and he ignored those warnings just the same. And despite the compounded pummeling, Pharaoh continued to resist. What was unique about these events that Pharaoh admitted that he was evil, that he was wrong?

Rabbi Alter Henach Leibowitz (Rosh Yeshiva/Dean of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim in Kew Gardens Hills, New York) elucidates that Pharaoh was profoundly impacted by the pure chessed (loving kindness) demonstrated by the Master of the Universe. G-d always demanded Pharaoh's compliance in releasing the Jewish people to totally avert the plagues. But unique to the hail was the Divinely noted opportunity to spare the livestock a gruesome death by moving them indoors, even if Pharaoh was too stubborn to concede and avoid the plague completely. Thus, Pharaoh contrasted G-d's righteousness to his nation's wickedness in ignoring the warning. The human appreciation of being the beneficiary of a genuinely selfless act made more of an impression than all of the fear generated by the awesome, magnificent miracles.

Much has been written in our day offering advice for winning friends and influencing people. But G-d Himself, the creator of human psychology and the author of the ultimate "self help" manual - the Torah - offers simple, straightforward advice. Genuine selfless loving kindness, emulating that done by G-d during every nanosecond of the human experience, from the first moment of Creation until this moment's involuntary breaths and heartbeats, breaks down the most fortified psychological barriers.

Have a Good Shabbos!


Copyright © 2003 by Rabbi Pinchas Avruch and Project Genesis, Inc.

Kol HaKollel is a publication of the Milwaukee Kollel Center for Jewish Studies 5007 West Keefe Avenue; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; 414-447-7999

 






ARTICLES ON REEH:

View Complete List

The Love Test
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5766

Give and Take
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5769

Creating Holiness
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

> A Blessed Adventure
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

Chosen and Tough
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5758

How Good Is Good Enough?
Shlomo Katz - 5762

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Seeing Clearly
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

To Hear and To See
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5765

The "Eye" Generation
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

ArtScroll

Tomorrow - Today
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

The Only Reason I Have Eyes Is For You!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774

Fortifying One's Belief in G'd
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5771

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Restoring Dignity
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

Of Visions and Decisions
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

Anti-Semitism
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774

No Middle Road
Shlomo Katz - 5763



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information