Hot answers tagged

15

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 ...


12

Here is a way to read this Rashi other that advancing corporealism: Usually, when we see Yad, it means to signify strength. So one might understand that Hashem will apply his strength against the Egyptians. However, Rashi here is saying that there is a metaphor here, of someone striking another. And that is an actual hand performing an act of hitting. To ...


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 ...


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 ...


7

Maayan Bais Has'shoeivah by Rabbi Shimon Schwab Zatzal explains that Moshe and Aharon were telling Pharaoh that his genocidal decrees against the Jewish people were doomed for failure. Eighty years ago you decreed that every boy born shall be thrown into the Nile River to be drowned. Eighty three years ago you ordered that all Jewish boys shall be killed at ...


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

The Da'as Zkeinim (and the Chizkuni) at the beginning of Parshas Noach addresses this issue in a different context - The posuk says תמים by Noach, and the Midrash says (Bereishis Rabba 30:8) that anyone described as such lived to an age the which is the multiple of 7 (full שבוע). Noach's 950 do not add (or divide) up. He answers that he lived this amount ...


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

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

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

Rashi asks this question, and answers it in 2 ways: רש"י: אלה ראשי בית אבותם. מתוך שהוזקק ליחס שבטו של לוי עד משה ואהרן בשביל משה ואהרן, התחיל ליחסם דרך תולדותם (ה) מראובן. (ובפסיקתא גדולה ראיתי, לפי שקנטרם יעקב אבינו לשלשה שבטים הללו בשעת מותו, חזר הכתוב ויחסם כאן לבדם, לומר שחשובים הם): ‏ שפתי חכמים (ה) וא"ת עדיין יש להקשות למה לא התחיל ...


7

Lubavitcher Rabbi Zatzal explains that Rashi says that תנין is a snake since further in Posuk 7:15 it says וְהַמַּטֶּה אֲשֶׁר נֶהְפַּךְ לְנָחָשׁ תִּקַּח בְּיָדֶךָ, obviously it turned into a snake. He leaves open the question as to why the Pasuk refers to it as a תנין if it is a snake. Tiferes Yisrael says that the hidden letters of Nachash are תנין. נ"ן ...


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

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

Tol'dos Yotzchak (by Rabbi Yitzchak Karo, uncle of the Bes Yosef), in his commentary to 4:10, says that "כבד לשון" refers to an impediment in pronouncing the so-called tongue letters, דטלנת;‎ "ערל שפתים", the lip letters, בומף; and "כבד פה", the rest. ["לא איש דברים", then, would seem to be an all-embracing expression.]


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

Perush Yonason asks this question and does not give an answer. I once heard an answer (do not remember from who) which is difficult to accept. Levi lived 137 years in Egypt. The problems with this answer is numerous, and I think this is a question that has no good answer.


6

The Haggadah explicitly learns that the Hand of G-d refers to Pestilence from Shemot 9:3, where it talks about Pestilence coming from the Hand of G-d. Of interest is Shemot Rabbah 10:1, which quotes R' Yehoshua ben Levi's teaching that each of the 10 plagues came with a side-plague of Pestilence.


6

In addition to the considerations given by ezra realted to the treatment of the Hebrews by the Egyptians, each Plague was associated with one or more Egyptian deities. The Egyptians worshipped that deity, so the emblem of that deity caused them harm. See http://www.biblecharts.org/oldtestament/thetenplagues.pdf From that page, here are the deities being ...


6

Riva on Torah, Shemos 8:26: ויעתר אל ה'. כאן במכת ערוב ובמכת ארבה נאמ' ויעתר שהוא לשון רבוי תפלה כמו שפרש"י בפרשת תולדות מה שאין כן בשאר המכות כגון מכת ברד וצפרדעים שנא' בברד ויפרש כפיו אל ה' וצפרדעים ויצעק משה והטעם לפי שאמרו רבותינו גמירי מיהב יהיב משקל לא שקיל ומשה היה חפץ שלא ישאר אחד מהם כדי שלא יהנו המצרים לא בעור ולא בבשר. ועל כן הוצרך משה להרבות ...


5

Richard Steiner (quoted by Natan Slifkin) cites Rashi in Shemot 14:31: את היד הגדלה: את הגבורה הגדולה שעשתה ידו של הקב"ה. והרבה לשונות נופלין על לשון יד, וכולן לשון יד ממש הן, והמפרש יתקן הלשון אחר ענין הדבור The great hand--the great mighty deed which God's hand has performed. Many meanings fit the word יד, but they are all the same as the ...


5

According to Ibn Kaspi, "לא איש דברים" means that Moshe was not an eloquent speaker, he was literally not a man of words. This was relevant because God was asking him to be a leader, and good public speaking skills are often thought of as crucial to such a role. No one would ever get elected president or prime minster if they couldn't deliver a good speech. ...


5

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) ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible