Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Bo

The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce this vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

R' Frand noted that the end of the ten makkos (the final three) appear in Parshas Bo. R' Frand quoted the sefer Milchamos Yehuda from R' Lubard who observed that the plague of Choshech - darkness, was different from the other plagues in Bo. While the the other plagues came with warnings, there was no warning that the plague of darkness would afflict Egypt. The question is why?

R' Frand answered that the other makkos were a punishment which were meant to break Pharaoh's will. When a person gives a punishment, he gives a warning first - if you do this again then you will get ...

The makkah of Choshech was not actually a punishment according to R' Lubard. Instead, the makkah was a warning from Hashem to Pharaoh - "you are blind, you need to open your eyes and see what is happening." The makkah was a message to Pharaoh - you don't see, but if you open your eyes, you will see. Thus Choshech was a warning and not a punishment.

R' Frand quoted a Medrash on a pasuk in Tehillim which states "He sent darkness and it became dark, but they did not rebel." The Medrash states on this pasuk that Hashem asked the angels - are the Egyptians worthy of the makkah of Choshech and all the angels agreed. What is the pshat in this Medrash? Quoting R' Lubard, R' Frand explained that before all the other plagues there were debates in shamayim as to whether the Egyptians deserved each plague and some angels argued against the plague. But when it came to Choshech there was no argument as it was a warning, not a punishment.

R' Frand then quoted a second Medrash which stated that the plague of Choshech was thick like a dinar (the coin used in the gemara's times). This is hard to comprehend as darkness is the absence of light, it does not have density. R' Frand quoted R' Lubard to explain that money (the dinar) can blind, causing people to do crazy things in order to get money. He mentioned that stories are told of executives in their 60's who resign because they want to spend more time with their family. But where is the family at that age?

This was the message of choshech - just as Pharaoh was blinded by his hatred of the Jews, so too we can be blinded by the pursuit of money.

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