Points to Ponder
And he turned and he left from in front of Pharaoh…and the servants of Pharaoh said to you—don’t you know that Mitzrayim is destroyed? (10:6-7) – The Sar Shalom of Belz once asked how could it be that the servant of Pharaoh spoke with him with such Chutzpah? Where did they get such gumption? The Rebbe answered that it was Moshe’s sudden turn from the demand from Hashem that he speak to Pharaoh with respect that showed the Egyptians that Pharaoh was no longer deserving of Aimas HaMalchus and as such they spoke up. (He was responding to a particular Czarist decree against the Jews).
Pharaoh called to Moshe and said go and serve Hashem just leave your cattle – even your kids can go (10:24)- Why does Pharaoh switch from Makkas Arbeh where he wants the children to remain while Makkas Chosheich Pharaoh only requests the animals remain. Why the flip-flop? Rav Michel Zilber Shlita explained that when it came to the beginning of the Parsha, Pharaoh thought that Moshe was seeking a rendezvous with Hashem which was to take place via Korbanos. Thus, he did not think the children would be needed so he did not want them to go. Later, it occurred to him that maybe the trip was more of a religious convention but if that were to be the case, then Korbanos would not be needed. Hence we was willing to let the kids go but not the animals. Moshe told Pharaoh that we do not know what Hashem wants from wants from us until we get there so we will need to take everything. When Jews serve Hashem we do so with our whole hearts, minds and being.
For on the day you see me you shall die (10:28) – What does Pharaoh gain by using the word “on the day”? Why not simply state , “When you see me you shall die”? The Tiferes Yisrael suggests that the declaration of Pharaoh was not that he would kill Moshe but rather that he would give permission to Dasan and Aviram to kill Moshe – not in the palace but on the same day. Rav Aizik Ausband Shlita points out that one sees the incredible power of Biizayon – of embarrassment here. Years had passed since Moshe called them Reshaim for fighting one another. In the interim, Moshe had risen to the level of leader of the Jewish people, conveyor of the word of Hashem and His Makkos. The slavery had partially ended and the Jews were no longer working. If Dasan and Aviram would attempt to rise up to Moshe, they would be killed. Still, Pharaoh knew that all he needed to do was give permission and they would rise to the challenge – so great is the memory of Bizyonos.
A Sheep for each family a Sheep for the home (12:3) – Why is there a stress on the familial and neighborly aspects of the Korban Pesach? Rav Elyashiv ztl. explained that when one is enslaved, often there is a competitive element that makes one forget his communal or neighborly ties. Before true Geulah is achieved, one needs to fix the family bond and strengthen neighborly ties if the redemption will be complete.
And the Jewish People did as Moshe said (12:35) – In regard to making the Korban Pesach it is noted that the Jews did as Hashem commanded Moshe. Why is there a difference between the command of Korban Pesach and that of Bizas Mitzrayim? Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev notes that the Mitzva in the Torah is that which is for the future. Korban Pesach was applicable in the future. Bizas Mitzrayim was Horaas Novi. Rav Schachter Shlita added that every time we find the word Kaasher Tziva we need to find out what the ruling for future generations is…it isn’t always obvious but it has Mitzva significance even for you and me.
When your child asks tomorrow “What is this?” You will tell him that it was with a strength of the hand that Hashem took us out of Mitzrayim (13:14) – Why is this the Possuk that we use to answer the simple son? Why the stress on the strength of the hand? Rav Ovadiah Yosef ztl. notes that the Tam son is often swayed by the miraculous stories to come to belief in Hashem. However, we remind him that it was the strength of the Hand – the hand that performs Mitzvos and demonstrates Emunah actively through punctilious Mitzva observance that is the way and the reason for Yetzias Mitzrayim (Lo HaMidrash Hu HaIkkar Ela HaMaaseh.)
The 4 Mitzvos commanded in Mitzrayim – Bnei Yisrael received 4 Mitzvos in the land of Mitzrayim – Kiddush HaChodesh, Korban Pesach, Arifas Peter Chamor and Tefillin. Rav Moshe Tzuriel Shlita asks why these 4 needed to be highlighted in Mitzrayim if, the Rambam notes, the command to observe Mitzvos in the future does not begin until Maamad Har Sinai? Rav Tzuriel answers that each one of these Mitzvos highlights a different aspect of the Geulah of the Jewish people and their new status as a distinct nation: The Mitzva of Kiddush HaChodesh highlights the fact that it is only the Jewish nation that creates a special rendezvous with Hashem each month – and it is effected only by the Beit Din on behalf of the Jew (not Hashem). No other nation has that ability. Similarly, the Korban Pesach is a uniting force – as the Maharal notes -- the korban unites the people (it is eaten b’Chaburah), day and night (it is shechted Bein HaArbayim), of a whole animal (inside and outside), by a whole person (not an Arel). The Arifas Peter Chamor is a symbol of the differentiation from the Egyptian who is compared to a Chamor. We are known as Adam. Tefillin are the uniform of the Jewish nation – there is nothing better for a Jew to don, then Tefillin.
Haftorah: “And you I shall not wipe out” (Yirmiyahu 46:28) – Maran HaRav Schachter Shlita notes that this is one of the unique Berachos for the Jewish people. Not only will the individual Jews not be wiped out, there will always be a Kahal (translated as minyan of Jews) in Eretz Yisroel to keep us connected to Hashem. Unlike the nations of the world whose stars (and Malachim) rise and eventually fall, our star just keeps on rising.