The Maharal (Chapter 56 of Gevuros Hashem) points out that the plagues follow a pattern, split into units of 3 - the first of each group (plagues 1, 4, and 7) are preceded by a warning to Pharaoh issued by the Nile. The second of each group (2, 5, and 8) are preceded by a warning issued to Pharaoh while sitting on his throne. The third of each group has no ...
With regard to the issue of what the timing was with God telling Moshe about the tenth plague, there are two approaches:
God actually interrupted the conversation between Moshe and Pharaoh to tell Moshe about the tenth plague while he was still standing before Pharaoh. (Rashi (from Shemos Rabbah 18:1), Rashbam, Ramban, Abarbanel.) [Abarbanel adds that ...
Rabbi Yosef Deutsch in Let My Nation Go, page 259, writes:
The wind carried every single locust east to the sea so that not one locust remained in Egypt. The locusts would await the Egyptians by the sea, and when the Egyptians would pursue the Jewish people to the sea, the locusts would torment them once again.
The footnotes source this to the work V’...
Because the Egyptians were looking for any excuse to say that the plagues were not of divine origin. If they were not of divine origin then the Egyptians wouldn't feel the need to let the Jews go.
If they saw any reason, no matter how slight, to say that they were not from G-d, they would jump on that opportunity.
Moshe did not want to give them that ...
Many laws applied to the Passover offering that do not apply to the Seder. For example, the Passover offering can only be eaten by people who are Tahor (a specific form of ritual purity). There is no requirement to be Tahor to attend a Seder nowadays.
Similarly, the Passover offering had to be eaten only by the invited members of a group. Nowadays, anyone ...
Tanchuma Parshas Bo 4 explains the sequence (from Sefaria.org) by comparing the plagues to a siege upon an enemy City:
נטה (את) ידך על השמים (שמות י כא). בטכסיס [מלך] בשר ודם הביא הקדוש ב"ה עליהם את המכות, מלך בשר ודם כיון שהמדינה מורדת עליו, מה עושה משלח לגיונות, והן מקיפין עליה, בתחילה הוא (שובר) [סוכר] אמת המים שלהם, אם חוזרין מוטב, ואם לאו הוא מביא ...
The letters בגד כפת have two versions, one with Dagesh and one without. It gets a Dagesh after a closed syllable, or in the beginning of a word.
In this instance, the previous word ends with an open syllable. Therefore the פ does not receive a Dagesh.
What of many instances where we see a word-initial פ receive a Dagesh where the previous word ended with ...
Rabbi Hirsch points out several patterns, but recall that God had told Abraham:
"Your offspring will be a foreigner in a land not theirs, they will be enslaved, and tormented. The Jews experienced three types of Egyptian behavior: "you don't belong here", "you are less than us", and inflicting pain.
Each trio of plagues therefore followed the same pattern ...
Moses said, "So said the Lord, At the dividing point of the night, I will go out into the midst of Egypt,
Rashi to Shemot 11:4:
Moses said, So said the Lord: When he stood before Pharaoh, this prophecy was said to him, for after he [Moses] left his [Pharaoh’s] presence, he did not see his face [again]. — [from Exod. Rabbah 18:1, ...
Abarbanel discusses this and gives two reasons why the parshiyos were split this way (which, incidentally, are the reasons @LarryK and @GershonGold have offered).
The plague of arbeh was chosen to begin Parshas Bo with because it begins the makkos for which Pharaoh began to fear the plagues and negotiate with Moshe before the plague started.
All the last ...
The Zohar (vol. 2 34a) explains (translation from chabad.org):
Rabbi Simeon [bar Yochai] continued: It is now fitting to reveal
mysteries connected with that which is above and that which is below.
Why is it written, "Come in to Pharaoh"? Ought it not rather to have
said, "Go to Pharaoh"? It is to indicate that G-d brought Moses into a
Due to Egyptian immorality, there were actually a lot of firstborns. All of these were counted:
Firstborn of the mother
Firstborn of the father
Oldest in the house, even if not a firstborn
All Egyptian firstborns, even in other countries
Firstborns of other nationalities currently in Egypt
Rashi to Ex. 12:30, s.v. כי אין בית אשר אין שם מת and ...
The explanation that I once heard for this was that the makkos were intended to teach a lesson to Pharaoh, and a very specific lesson. Pharaoh believed in gods with powers. Seeing something paranormal wasn't the end of the discussion for Pharaoh. What fascinated Pharaoh was absolute power - Pharaoh believed in a pantheon of gods, and one G-d with absolute ...
The Ba'al HaTurim (9:33) says that after the plague of Hail the Jewish nation no longer suffered from the burdens of Egyptian oppression.
There would therefore be a clear distinction between the first 7 plagues and the last three, which might be why the plagues are separated there.
Excerpted from an article by R' Maury Grebenau:
The Seforno (Shemos 12:13) assumes that it was in fact Hashem who carried out the plague. The "maschis" that is referred to is just a reference to the destruction that Hashem will create. It isn't referring to an angel.
The Ohr Hachayim (there) understands that it was a two part system. Hashem was the ...
The next Rashi gives two answers to this question:
שהיו שמחין לאידם של ישראל ועוד שלא יאמרו יראתנו הביאה הפורענו' זו
They were happy with the enslavement of Israel, and also so that they wouldn't be able to say that their god brought these disasters upon Egypt.
The lesson quoted in the question, "If [a commandment] comes your way, perform it immediately" (in the Hebrew "מצוה הבאה לידך אל תחמיצנה") isn't implying a time restraint but rather an overall idea that the execution of a given commandment should not be delayed or put on the back burner.
This concept is echoed in another lesson by the rabbis (BT Pesahim 4a):...
From Me'am Lo'ez:
The darkness was not like the darkness of night, but was something
palpable. Our sages state that it could be felt, just like a coin.
(Tanchuma; Shemot Rabbah. The measure of the "thickness of a coin
[dinar]" is that which is considered to have substance; see Chulin
55b. Rashash on Shemot Rabbah writes that the darkness was like ...
As others have answered, technically the establishment of the calendar is a prerequisite for observing the Jewish holidays. This commandment is in fact the first mitzva given to the Jewish people as a nation. (The few mitzvot recorded in Bereishit were given to individuals before we became a nation.)
The Seforno explains that setting the Jewish calendar ...
The seventh, Hail, marks a turning point. So it is also a good place to divide the parshiot.
The plague is a turning point since it is the first one whereby Moses/Gd gives Pharoh three choices:
Let B'nei Israel leave
Fully suffer the plague
Partially suffer the plague: save your fieldworkers and animals by bringing them indoors away from the hail (Ex 9:19)
The intuitive etymological connection is made by Radak. I'm sure that there are others who make the same point as well...
I did manage to find a source for this connection here, although it still requires understanding as to what the connection (other than the words themselves) might be.
To summarize the content: Rabbi Jonathan Ziring (the author of ...
Gam Ani Odcha - Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky answers based on Menachos 34b that the Shel Rosh is more Chashuv than the Shel Yad therefore Rashi mentions the Shel Rosh first.
תשובה: משום חשיבותה, עיין מנחות ל״ד ב׳. [בגמרא שם איתא, תפילה של יד
עושין אותה של ראש, ושל ראש אין עושין אותה של יד, לפי שאין מורידין
מקדושה חמורה לקדושה קלה. ע״כ].
The "gods" worshipped by ancient Egypt included the Nile, cows and the sun (see e.g., Wikipedia's entry). These definitely exist as physical entities.
One of the goals or effect of the ten plagues was to show God's dominion over these entities. The Maharal (cited in R Shmuel Goldin's Unlocking the haggada, p. 115) explains one can break down the plagues in ...
@Menachem's answer addresses your question regarding sources that suggest that some of the plagues affected the Jews as well as the Egyptians. However, regarding your question of why the distinction is "spelled out" only prior to the fourth plague, arov, I will offer the explanation of Abarbanel (who, by the way, believes that the Jews were not affected by ...
The Ibn Ezra (7:24) says that Jews were affected by the first three plagues (Blood, Frogs, and Lice), since:
That's the story the verses tell
They weren't that bad (i.e. only an inconvenience, I guess. - he says that the Jews also dug for water)
They were spared from Wild Animals because it was a harsh plague. They were also spared from Pestilence and Hail ...
The first bold term is obvious. Without the words "Who sits on his throne", you would think that only Pharoh's son, and not Pharoah himself would be threatened with the plague.
Once that phrase is required, then the next phrase 'behind the millstone" is also needed. Because if it only mentioned the throne, then you might think that only the slaves of ...
Rashi explains that from the most illustrious to the lowliest ones were afflicted.
There are different levels of slaves, and those behind the millstone were the absolute lowest level. And Pharaoh was on the absolute highest level.