What do the commentators say is the message/meaning behind the miracles in Egypt?For example, i heard an explanation that the reason God turned the River into blood was to show that God had power over the Nile. So i'm looking for more explanations on what the miracles are supposed to say/represent. Please cite your sources, and if you could have them in Hebrew and English it would be the most helpful. To be more specific, i'm looking for broad treatises about the miracles as a whole.

  • I think splitting this into 10 different questions is a good idea. Were my vote not binding I'd use it to VTC as Too Broad.
    – Double AA
    Jan 11, 2016 at 23:28
  • i would imagine there are some treatises that are generally about the plagues as a whole, rather than as comments to each one individually
    – Aaron
    Jan 11, 2016 at 23:30
  • If you seek treatises on all 10 you should ask for that, but you haven't here. If there are such treatises, they can easily be posted as a source for 10 different answers. Shulchan Arukh, for instance, is used to answer many halacha questions around here.
    – Double AA
    Jan 11, 2016 at 23:31
  • @Aaron If you are asking about explanations for the plagues in general (on a macro level), it would be good to clarify that in the question. Otherwise, asking about what any commentators say about any or all of the individual plagues seems too broad.
    – Fred
    Jan 11, 2016 at 23:33
  • 1
    I recommend removing "but would not turn down anything that was specific" to keep the question focused.
    – Isaac Moses
    Jan 12, 2016 at 14:19

1 Answer 1


Rav Hirsch groups the plagues as shown in the Hagadah as three groups. He groups them in three rows each with three columns and explains both the rows and the columns and explains in וארא 7:15

...דצך remedy Egyptians from the erroneous ideas of גרות עבדות ועינוי by the revelation of Hashem's Power and Almightiness on water and land אדש by the revelation of Hashem's Power and Almightiness on the living inhabitants of the land, and באחב on the air which encompasses land and people.

The first plague of each group of three are under גרות.

he whose stay in a country is dependent on the goodwill and tolerance of others.

The second of each group is under עבדות which destroys the two main ideas

which fill the breast of the slave owner with the conceit that his superiority over a slave is justified, a) the idea that he belongs to an altogether higher order of beings and b) the idea of the haughty superiority due to power and riches.

The third of each group come under the heading of ענוי.

And what it means to lead a harassed, painful, and starving life was taught by the corporal plagues.

As we have observed, the first two plagues of each group were rather more to teach a lesson and only the third was a punishment, and that was why the two first ones only came after having been announced beforehand.

There is much more that follows and he explains each plague and how it connects to this general reasoning. However, it is too long to go into here. See the commentary in the Hirsch Chumash in Parshiyos וארא and בו.

All the other commentaries also go into much more detail.

  • I think you've got some typos going on. And I can't tell if you are transliterating with an Ashkenazi style so I dont know if the words end with sav, samekh, or sin
    – Aaron
    Jan 12, 2016 at 2:01

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