Points to Ponder

VaEra 5775

And I will give it to you as a Morasha (6:8) – Moshe himself was not sure what the word Morasha meant. This was later clarified in the time of Tzlofchad’s daughters. The Talmud in Bava Basra explains that the issue was about getting Pi Shnayim (double portion) in the land of Israel . Rav Schachter Shlita pointed out that they wanted to know if the land of Israel was considered Raui or Muchzak. Thus, Morasha does not mean the same thing as Yerusha – Morasha means a heritage – I got it and I must see that it is transmitted to the next generation in its entirety. Torah and Eretz Yisrael are uniquely Morasha – they are our heritage and must be transmitted entirely to the future generations.

These are  Aharon and Moshe…These are Moshe and Aharon (6:26-7) – Rashi notes that they were equals. Ramban takes exception to that in the fact that Moshe was unparalleled in his Nevuah power. How would they be considered equal? Moreover, how can two people with the same genetic makeup be so diverse? Rav Amital ztl explained that Nevuah power is dependent on how much of a Mivakesh one is. Thus, two people of the same genetic background – equals – can have diversity in their Nevuah power. Today, the same can be said about Chochma. Two people of the same intellectual capacity might not become the same Talmidei Chachamim – the difference comes down to knowing who is the bigger Mivakeish.

Provide a proof for yourself ( 7:9) -   Why will Pharaoh need a proof when Moshe and Aharon speak to him?  Rav Yehuda Pesaya ztl. famed Mikubal and author of the Kesser Tzaddik  likened the situation to that of someone who had a servant for many years. Every time the master needed money he would send his servant to his rich friend to borrow some money on his behalf. The friend would always send the money with the servant. After some time the servant got married and the master had to get another servant in his stead. When he sent the new servant to borrow money, his friend refused to give the servant any money till he brought him a signed agreement that the money would be repaid. When asked why there was a need in the agreement, the lender told the borrower that the first servant’s loyalty was clear – that’s why no promissory note was needed but the second one was new and as such untested and not as yet deserving of the trust. Similarly, when Moshe Rabbenu, 'a"h, approached him with the message that he was sent by G-d, Pharaoh said, "Wait for me till I look up your G-d's Name in my book of gods". But, according to the Midrash, the Holy One Blessed Be He's Name was not in his book. Moshe Rabbeinu told him that his book contained only dead and meaningless gods, but the G-d of Israel who is a living G-d was not in his book. That is why Pharaoh asked for proof, because his knowledge was limited to his lifeless gods and he knew nothing about the true G-d of Israel.

Pharaoh’s heart is too hard (7:14) – What Was Pharaoh thinking when he wouldn’t listen to the obvious messages to be found in the Makkos or even in the words of his advisors? What was HIS logical flow? The author of the Teshuvah MeiAhava explains that although Pharaoh had heard the rumors that Hashem promised Avraham that his children would be enslaved and then released with great reward, he lived with the premise of the rumors of the Leitzanei HaDor that Yitzchak was sired by Avimelech.  Therefore Bnei Yisrael could not have been the nation Hashem prophesized about. He adds that this is the idea in the Haggada that B’Tzeis Yisrael ..Me’Am Loeiz – from a nation that offered and spouted rumors that we were not legitimate Bnei Avraham.

And Moshe cried out to Hashem on the matter of the frogs (8:8) – On the matter of Moshe’s Rabbi Akiva Sofer ztl. impassioned Tefillah noted here as Tzaaka one becomes aware of Moshe’s roused compassion for the Egyptians. Why? Was he so aggrieved about their plight? explained that Moshe was concerned lest the full Kiddush Hashem due to be achieved through the 10 Makkos not be achieved if Pharaoh listened to the messages of the frogs. Thus he cried out Al Divar – on the words of the frogs – lest he hear and the Kiddush Hashem not be actualized.

It is the finger of Hashem (8:15) – The Vilna Gaon points out that the difference between the finger and the hand (which was seen at the shores of Yam suf) is that a finger warns and the hand strikes. Rav Yaakov Galinsky ztl. adds that if the 10 makkos were merely a warning – we need to accept the warnings of OUR lives and engage in Teshuvah for OUR misdeeds.

The wheat and the spelt were not destroyed since they are late in sprouting (9:32) – Rashi cites the Tanchuma which explains that it was a miracle (Pele) that these types were not destroyed. Why were the Wheat and spelt deserving of a miracle? Rav Bauch Mordechai Ezrachi Shlita explains  that there was a lesson here to Pharaoh – to be flexible instead of brazen – like the wheat and spelt whose flexibility kept them alive. The Pele is a reference to the fact that the miracle was performed for Pharaoh and he STILL didn’t want to learn it.