Rabbi Raymond Beyda
"But I shall harden Par-oh's heart and I shall multiply My signs and My
wonders in the land of Egypt." [Shemot 7:3]
Hashem commanded Moshe to go to the ruler of Egypt and demand the release
of the Jews from . At the outset, however, G-d informed Moshe that He
would not allow Par-oh to repent in order to increase the wondrous
miracles and clearly show the world that He alone is the Creator and the
Ruler of the universe. The obvious question is, "how can one be prevented
from making teshubah-repentance?
Aren't the gates of repentance open to all?
The fact of the matter is that G-d will accept the sincere repentance of
even the worst sinner. However, there are two types of sinners and Heaven
treats each type differently. One who transgresses can pray remorsefully
and ask for the assistance of Heaven in one's efforts to return to G-d and
to keep his commandments. Daily in our prayers we all seek this great gift
of heavenly assistance when we say Hasheevenu-"Bring us back, our Father
to your Torah; bring us near, our King, to Your service. And cause us to
return with perfect repentance before You."
There are others, however, who have reached a point of wickedness and who
have not taken advantage of opportunities to repent and are punished by
losing the Heavenly assistance available to others. These people have the
difficult task of awakening themselves to repentance on their own. It is
similar to being expected to wake up early every day without an alarm clock.
Par-oh denied the power and existence of Hashem and His control of all
that happens in his creation. After five warnings-after 5 clear signs of
G-d's omnipotence the stubborn heretic stood firm in his denial. Hashem
then told Moshe go and tell him that I will harden his heart. I am
invoking the punishment of removal of the Heavenly aid in the teshubah
process. The mistake Par-oh made was that he did not realize that although
the door was shut it was not locked.
This is the same mistake made by Elisha Aher. This great sage was the
teacher of Rebbi Meir. Later in life he rejected the Torah and became a
sinner. He once heard a Heavenly voice cry out "Return to me all of my
wicked children-except Aher!" He wrongly assumed that his repentance could
never be accepted. He did not realize that EVERYONE could return to G-d.
He was being punished with the removal of G-d's kind assistance but he on
his own could achieve return. He had no alarm clock -he had to wake himself
Everyone can learn from Par-oh and Elisha that G-d wants our return and He
will help us achieve it. If we climb to the top of the fence but cannot go
over He will give us the lift necessary to make it to the other side.
QUESTION FROM THE PARASHA
Moshe said to Par-oh."When should I pray for you, for your servants, and
for your people, to remove the frogs from you and from your houses." And
he (Par-oh) said, "Tomorrow". He (Moshe) said, 'as you say -so that you
will know there is none like Hashem, our G-d." [Shemot 8:6]
1) The plague of the frogs was driving the Egyptians crazy and causing the
people great pain and suffering. Why would Par-oh delay Moshe's prayer to
remove the plague a whole day? Why didn't he answer-"Immediately! Get rid
of them now"?
2) Moshe replied if I do remove them tomorrow you would clearly see that
our G-d is the true ruler of the creation. If he removed them at once
wouldn't that also prove Hashem is King?
The Answer is that things created through ancient magic existed for a
specific limited time. Once that time arrived the magically created
creature dissolved on its own -without any magician's intervention. Par-oh
thought he would outsmart Moshe, thinking "He is asking me now because he
knows the time for these raucous frogs to disappear is now." Therefore, he
proposed a cessation of the plague one horribly excruciating day later
than Moshe's offer. Of course, it was through the prayer of Moshe that the
plague was stopped, and not one moment sooner, and Par-oh and his people
suffered longer than necessary because the non-believer ruler was wrong in
Moshe told Par-oh that he would clearly see that he was the true messenger
of Hashem and that Hashem brought the plague and only He could remove it
when the plague would cease on the next day. Par-oh could not deny it
because how could Moshe make his generous offer to stop the plague any
time that Par-oh chose. Even if it was magic and the time for it to stop
on its own was tomorrow-how could Moshe know for sure that Par-oh would
not say "Stop this noisy plague right this second!" or even in two days or
three.? The plague stopped when Moshe prayed and that was his proof that
G-d brought the plague and He also removed it. [Source Zayit Ra-anan part 2]
DID YOU KNOW THAT
Our sages ordained that one should make a blessing on the light at
Habdallah, in remembrance of the creation of fire, which took place after
the end of the first Shabbat, when G-d gave Adam the insight to make fire
from rocks. This applies after every Shabbat - even if the night following
Shabbat begins one of the Yom Tob holidays [e.g. Shabuoth]. One must also
add the blessing on light to the Habdallah for Yom Kippur - even if Yom
Kippur ends on a week night (as opposed to a Saturday Night). On the exit
of one of the holidays where we are permitted to cook [which did not
coincide with Shabbat] we do NOT say the blessing on light in Habdallah.
[Source Shemirath Shabbat K'hilkheta, 61:16].
Text Copyright © 2004 Rabbi Raymond Beyda and Torah.org