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In my research over this Pesach, I have found some reasons why G-d chose the Ten Plagues specifically. Many of the answers come from the same source. The answer is middah k'neged middah (roughly translated as "karma"). Each of the plagues was punishment for something the Egyptians did to the Israelites. Blood The Egyptians closed all the mikva'ot and ...


14

Ibn Ezra said that only the above ground water (such as in the river) turned to blood, but water that was underground before the plague stayed water. "And all of Egypt dug around the river to find water to drink" (7:24) Thus , when the Egyptian magicians needed water to emulate the plague, they dug a new well See Ibn Ezra on Vaeira 7:22 ויש שואלים: ...


13

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 ...


11

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’...


9

Most of the commentators understand ערוב as being derived from the word for "mixture", the animals being a "mixture" of a certain type. What type is subject to speculation. Shemos Rabbah (11:3) brings a difference of opinion between R' Nechemia and R' Yehuda as to what type of animals were involved: either insects or what we would think of as wild animals (...


9

First of all, the whole point of the 'river turning to blood' was that it was supposed to be a miracle, an event showing that superiority of a force over the natural world (i.e. science). So, if anything, your example proves that the Jews DO believe in modern science, as they believe that there's no natural way to turn water into blood without divine ...


9

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 ...


8

The דרכי משה ( in אורח חיים ס' תעד ס'ק יח ) brings the custom based on the מהרי'ל and the custom of the מהר'ש. He also states that the מהר'ש based it on the ספר אבי'ה - presumably the ראבי'ה. There are two things being symbolized. The use of the finger symbolizes the 'finger of G-d' and the number of times has a gematria of 16. The דרכי משה explains ...


8

To summarize the Chabad.org link that Hacham Gabriel provided: Shemos Rabba (11:3) brings a disagreement between R' Yehudah and R' Nechemia. R' Yehudah maintains that it was a swarm of different wild animals. R' Nechemia says it was a swarm of insects. The Midrash and most commentators (Rashi, ibn Ezra, Targum Yonatan, et al) hold like R' Yehudah. However ...


8

The Shir Maon writes they turned blood into "water" (looked like it) and then turned it back into its original state which is blood. Magic cannot work on water (see Sanhedrin) but could on blood.


8

R. Yosef Bekhor Shor (Tosafist) uses this as a proof that the water only turned into blood for long enough to kill the fish, then the fish polluted the water rendering it undrinkable. He is in turn quoted by Hizkuni, Moshav Z'keinim, Riva al Hatorah, and others. This is the wording of Hizkuni (Exod. 7:20): לא נעשה היאור דם כי אם לפי שעה ומיד מתה הדגה ...


8

Technically, "modern science" incorporates quantum mechanics, which includes the ideas of particles "blipping" in and out of existence, as well as that of all that science predicts are probabilities not definitive absolutes. So modern science doesn't really contradict the miraculous (which are essentially then statistical anomalies). Furthermore, at a ...


8

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 ...


8

I'll assume from your comments you will find the following a possible answer. Torah Temimah in chapter 10 #2 raises a few points. Chazzal said the darkness was as thick as a dinar. What can that mean? According to Rashi there was no daytime, only night. This however changes sedder bereishis and Hashem already assured Noach that day and night would not ...


8

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 ...


7

The explanation I always give is as follows: God never takes away a person's free will. If God wants to influence a person's choice, He does just that - influences it. He does not force it. He will manipulate external factors so that the decision will be influenced in a certain direction. Let me give an example: Bill is buying a new car. He has free will ...


7

Imagine there was a magician claiming to have a super-natural ability to turn water into blood, and you want to discredit him and prove that it's just a trick. You would need to perform the exact illusion that the magician was performing, turn water into blood. Doing the reverse would not discredit the initial "miracle" that the magician performed. ...


7

I am surprised that no one has mentioned the Rambam's opinion. He addresses this question in Hilchos Teshuva (6:3), and says quite simply that yes, sometimes freewill is withheld from someone. The reason it was not unfair to punish Pharaoh after his heart had been hardened and he'd lost his freewill is because he deserved it. Rambam explains that since he ...


7

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 ...


7

Each plague was done with a finger of Hashem, as it says "אצבע אלקים היא" (Shemos 8:15) by כנים, and דבר was the fifth plague, making it 5 fingers, a full hand. (my) Source: Maaseh Nisim Hagada by Rabbeinu Yaakov m'Lisa (aka the Nesivos Hamishpat) quoting "the commentaries" While I was looking back through my Haggadas for the source, I found this as well: ...


7

Due to Egyptian immorality, there were actually a lot of firstborns. All of these were counted: Firstborn of the mother Firstborn of the father Male Female 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 ...


7

The Pesukim tell us that the Tzefarde'a went into their homes, bedrooms, bodies and even ovens. וְעָלוּ וּבָאוּ בְּבֵיתֶךָ וּבַחֲדַר מִשְׁכָּבְךָ וְעַל מִטָּתֶךָ וּבְבֵית עֲבָדֶיךָ וּבְעַמֶּךָ וּבְתַנּוּרֶיךָ וּבְמִשְׁאֲרוֹתֶיךָ There was no place in Egypt to hide from them, hence "no Egyptians would have survived". The Arov did not have as much access: ...


7

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 ...


7

According to the Sforno on 8:7, the pasuk says that they will be removed from the houses but not from the whole country; on the contrary, they will die in the land and cause a stench, but in the future they will not leave their habitat in or near the river. The Malbim indicates that the pasuk indicates the order of the removal (which, I guess, means that ...


6

I have no backing for this novel idea, but here goes: Modern science of the past century has taught us that light consists of photons. These are packets of energy that act like particles in many respects and have no mass (since they travel at the speed of light). Now, how can it be that the darkness was "thick"? When photons have no mass, how can there be ...


6

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.


6

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch in his Commentary explains that God did not “harden Pharaoh’s heart” so much as “allow Pharaoh’s heart to be hardened”. This was achieved allowing Pharaoh to (incorrectly) perceive limits to God’s power in bringing the plagues. For example, Hirsch translates Exodus 9:30–32 as a single quote, something like (adapting the JPS ...


6

Rav Hirsch suggests an alternate explanation of the magicians’ behavior according to your suggestion: that they were attempting to undo the effects of the plague with no success—or in the case of the frogs, more frogs came when they attempted to banish them. After their third failure, they acknowledged that it was “God’s Finger” at work.


6

Rashi (12:32) says that Pharoah asked Moshe to bless him because he was a firstborn and thus was liable to die in the plague.


6

From the Baal Hatanya's Haggadah: ויכוון, שהכוס הוא סוד המלכות, ושופך מהיין שבתוכו סוד האף והזעם שבה על ידי כח הבינה לתוך כלי שבור סוד הקליפה שנקראת ארור One should have in mind that the cup represents sod hamalchut (the secret of sovereignty), and the wine that is being poured into the broken vessel represents the secret of anger and indignation,...


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