Makkas Kinnim came about by turning the dust of the ground into lice (Shemos 8:12-15). Likewise, Makkas Shchin came about by turning oven ash to boils (Shemos 9:8-12).

We know that Makkas Dam, the only other makkah that was created by transforming something, rather than summoning it from elsewhere or creating it out of nothing, the waters turned back to their original state after the Makkah.1 Did the same thing occur by Kinnim and Shchin? Did the lice revert to dust, and did the boils dissolve into oven ash? Or did they just vanish into nothingness?

1This can be inferred from Shemos 8:1, which discusses "rivers" - if the blood simply vanished, then there would be no rivers, as all of the previously existing water in Mitzraim turned into blood. And it couldn't have remained blood, as then Makkas Dam would have lasted far longer than its allotted week (see Rashi to Shemos 7:25). Thus, it must have been water. (Others say this fact explicitly.)

  • The implication is that when the blood left the borders of Mitzraim, then it turned back into water. Thus as it flowed down the Nile, it all became water as it left the delta for the sea. Apr 7, 2017 at 0:14
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    @sabbahillel And therefore what?
    – DonielF
    Apr 7, 2017 at 0:45
  • Thus, there could have been a difference between the plague of blood and the others. Apr 7, 2017 at 2:52
  • @sabbahillel Do you know if lice that travelled outside of Mitzraim turned to anything other than lice? Unless you can answer yes to that question, you've proven nothing. For all we know, the lice may never have left Mitzraim. In fact, as far as I know, the Makkos were all restricted to the borders of Mitzraim minus Goshen. So the blood didn't leave Mitzraim, and neither did the Kinnim or Shchin.
    – DonielF
    Apr 7, 2017 at 3:02
  • The only commentaries that I have seen deal with the blood. As shown in judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/38359/… Apr 7, 2017 at 3:35

1 Answer 1


Some thoughts:

  1. Rashi to Shemos 7:25 says that for Makkas Dam it took 7 days after the plague before it returned to what it had been like before, which sounds like that would be the case in other Makkos (as he doesn't associate this with anything relating to Makkas Dam in particular, unlike the sources in After the first plague, where did Paro's magicians get water to turn to blood?, so perhaps we can assume that this was true of the other Makkos, just this one took 7 days, the other ones took a different amount of time):

    וימלא – מניין שבעת ימים שלא שב היאר לקדמתו‏

  2. Ibn Ezra to 8:12 suggests that there was not a change from dust into Kinnim, rather, it was simply Kinnim that formed on the ground, and if so, there is no reverting to dust:

    כאילו בעפר שיכה אהרן יעלה ויוליד כנים בכל ארץ מצרים.‏

  3. Shadal to 8:13 says something similar, that it appeared that the entire ground was Kinnim because of how many there were, but not that the dust literally turned into Kinnim, so again, it would not revert to dust:

    כל עפר הארץ היה כנים – כך היה נראה לעם מעוצם רבוי הכנים, והוא דרך הפלגה.‏

  4. For Shechin, I don't see many commentaries that understand that the dust turned into boils. It certainly isn't the simple reading of the Passuk (9:10), nor the approach taken by Chazal. If so, it would not revert to ash. See for example, Ramban to 9:9:

    והיה לאבק על כל ארץ מצרים – על דעת, רבותינו (שמות רבה י׳:ו׳) היה מן הפיח ההוא אבק יורד על כל ארץ מצרים, והיה האבק ההוא כשיורד על האדם ועל הבהמה בכל ארץ מצרים מעלה בהן שחין ואבעבועות, כי היה חם שורף, ואולי היה הרוח מכניס אבק גם בבתים ואין ניצל ממנו, ונכון הוא. וכן ירד פעמים רבות בימי הבצורת כדמות אבק ברדת הטל, וכתיב (דברים כ״ח:כ״ד) יתן י״י את מטר ארצך אבק ועפר. וכן יתכן לומר על דרך הפשט כי פירוש והיה לאבק, שיהיה האבק אשר יעשה מן הפיח במקומו נותן שחין על כל ארץ מצרים, שהלקה את האויר לעשות כן וגזרת עליון היא.‏

  • It isn’t the simple reading that the soot turned to boils? How else do you read ויזרק...השמימה ויהי שחין In 9:10?
    – DonielF
    Jan 8, 2018 at 1:23
  • @DonielF in one of the 2 ways that the Ramban says. Compare to Dam "Vayehafechu Kol Hamayim... ...Ledam". "Vayehi... ...Poreach" means it began to sprout on people (likely related to the ash), but not that the ash turned into it. Jan 8, 2018 at 1:27

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