Home Subscribe Services Support Us
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Bo

A Position Of Strength

By Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig

The ninth of the ten plagues to strike the Egyptians was darkness. The Torah relates that during this affliction "no [Egyptian] could see his brother nor could anyone rise from his place for a three day period; but for all the children of Israel there was light in their dwellings." (Shemos/Exodus 10:23) G-d created a tangible darkness through which the Jews were able to see but the Egyptians were not. Why was it necessary for G-d to create such a miraculous darkness? Could He not have temporarily blinded the Egyptians and accomplished the same thing?

Chasam Sofer (1) explains that G-d did not want to blind the Egyptians because a natural outcome of blindness is a heightened sensitivity of the other senses. By engineering a circumstance that they were able to see but the darkness obstructed the function of that ability, not only were they practically unable to see, but their expended effort diverted their focus and attention from the other senses they could have utilized.

Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler (2) expounds that it is ideal for a person to use a similar methodology in his service of G-d. Initially, a person should recognize his strengths and focus on them. His improvement in these areas will have a ripple effect on the other areas of his life in which he is deficient; his certain success in his areas of strength will generate successes in his weaker areas as well.

Just as the blind person instinctively focuses his energies to the senses he can utilize and is more successful as a result, we should also focus on our own strengths and capabilities. If a person has a natural proclivity for acts of kindness or prayer, he should focus on that first rather than focusing all of his energies on his weak points. To ignore this advice is to condemn oneself to the curse of the Egyptians: wasting time attempting performance of the impossible, while squandering valuable energies and actual strengths that contain such vast potential.

Have a Good Shabbos!

(1) Rabbi Moshe Sofer of Pressburg; 1762-1839; acknowledged leader of Hungarian Jewry of the time (2) in Michtav Me'Eliyahu, his collected writings and discourses; 1891-1954; of London and B'nai Brak, one of the outstanding personalities and thinkers of the Mussar movement

Please forward your questions for Rabbi Jarcaig to

Text Copyright © 2005 by Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig and

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



View Complete List

Horns and Hedonism
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

Joseph and His Dreams
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

The Hasmoneans Take a Stand: A History of Chanukah, Part II
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5774

> Dad Silence
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

Pulling the Strings of History
Shlomo Katz - 5760

True Motives
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5758

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Wealth, Honor & Property
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5761

The Flame of Yosef
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5771

Shadowy Existence
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Learning To Enjoy The Struggle
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5765

Rest Stop
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

Prisoner of Unconscious
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758


Speak for Peace
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5760

Nuclear Reaction
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

History Reenacted
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5767

New Shoes For Old Souls
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

Project Genesis Home

Torah Portion

Jewish Law



Learn the Basics




Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base


About Us

Contact Us

Free Book on Geulah! Home Copyright Information