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Avos d'Rebbi Nassan* 33 recounts that corresponding to Avraham's ten tests,1 Hashem performed ten miracles for the Bnei Yisrael in Mitzraim2 and struck the Mitzriim with ten makkos, and likewise He performed ten miracles for them at the Yam Suf3 and struck the Mitzriim with ten makkos at the Yam Suf.4

Do any of the commentators explain the connection between Avraham's ten tests and these other lists of tens?


*Henceforth ADRN

1The list presented in ADRN appears to be: (1) the command to go to Eretz Yisrael; (2) the ensuing famine there; (3) sending away Yishmael; (4) Akeidas Yitzchak; (5) sending away Hagar; (6) Sarah's abduction(s); (7) the war with the four kings; (8) the nevuah at the Bris Bein HaBesarim that his children would be slaves; (9) Ur Kasdim; and (10) Bris Milah.

2That is, that the Bnei Yisrael were shielded from the Makkos (Bartenura to Avos 5:4), and likewise in the next clause.

3The list presented in ADRN is that Hashem made the ocean into (1) tunnels, (2) a plain, (3) divided parts, (4) mortar, (5) a desert, (6) fragments, (7) rocks, (8) dry land, (9) walls, and (10) flasks/fresh water, and it brings pesukim for each of them.

4ADRN subsequently explains that Hashem used ten "weapons" against the Mitzriim, measure for measure to the weapons they used against the Yisraelim, and brings pesukim for each of them. They are: (1) a thundering voice; (2) a bow; (3) arrows; (4) swords; (5) lances; (6) shields; (7) bucklers; (8) spears; (9) hail; (10) fiery coals. I'm not sure how many were literal and how many were metaphorical.

  • There is an English translation of ADRN, which I sometimes use. That translation frequently refers to 2 mefarshim. Offhand, I don't recall what he uses, but, I'll see if I can locate that book during Shabbat, B"N. I gather these mefarshim should be available in a good Bet Midrash. – DanF Apr 7 '17 at 14:39
  • @DanF I was working out of the Artscroll, which only contains the straight Hebrew, the translation, and a few commentaries in the footnotes that didn't help much. I'll see if I can track down an Avodah Zarah over Yom Tov to check the Masechtos Ketanos in the back. – DonielF Apr 7 '17 at 15:18
  • The Midrash Says, when bringing down this Midrash (Shemos p. 104), just says it was in the merit of withstanding the ten tests. It doesn't say if there's any correlation. – DonielF Apr 7 '17 at 21:04

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