Midrash Rabbah describes how the Jews in Egypt became wealthy through the plague of blood by selling their water to the Egyptians who were desperate. This may be a thought experiment as I haven't seen anywhere else address this matter, but my son asked me whether the Egyptians were able to pay for the water and then provide it to other Egyptians in turn.

This led to a spirited debate at the Shabbos table with all present split evenly with their thoughts on whether or not the Egyptian's purchase was exclusive (i.e. for himself only, or perhaps even for those he had in mind to purchase) or rather once he made the purchase/acquisition it remained water and he could share with anyone he liked.

If anyone has thoughts or better yet sources that deal with this question, I'd be much obliged!

  • How would young children get water? – Double AA Jan 29 '17 at 14:24
  • I would assume that when they purchased water they had the right to use the water,but to profit from it may not have been a possibility because that would undermine the whole idea that Klal Yisrael should make money off the plauge – sam Jan 29 '17 at 15:58
  • @DoubleAA I would imagine that the head of household could buy water to sustain his family. My question (more accurately my son's question) is are there any limitations to the buyer's rights of use? – Shmuel Brown Jan 29 '17 at 16:06
  • @sam I'm not necessarily referring to profit, unless it's profit in the altruistic sense. Suppose the Egyptian wanted to help his(non-related) fellow by sharing with him free of charge; would the water remain water or revert? Let me know if you think this warrants further clarifying the question and I'll edit. – Shmuel Brown Jan 29 '17 at 16:08
  • Note that that Midrash is far from unanimous. – mevaqesh Jan 29 '17 at 21:22

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