The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts 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.
In Shemos 10:21-29 the Torah discusses the plague of darkness. Rashi on 10:23 states that the plague came because there were Jewish Risha'im who did not want to leave Egypt. Rashi explains that these Jews had to die before Moshe took the Jews out of Egypt, but they needed to die in a way that the Egyptians did not see them dying so that the Egyptians would not say --see even they are dying.
R' Frand next quoted the Rosh on Chumash who asked - why is it that Dasan & Aviram who were also Rishai'm did not die during the plague of darkness. He answered that it was because as evil as they were, they still believed and desired for the redemption.
R' Frand also quoted the Medrash Rabbah which explains that there were Jews who had Egyptian patrons and did not suffer in Egypt, so they did not want to leave. Therefore Hashem killed them during the period of darkness so that no one would see.
R' Frand stated that this is something for American Jewry to take to heart. As wonderful as things are here, we need to be desirous of the Geulah and of moving to Israel when the time of the redemption arrives.
R' Frand started his next vort by quoting from the beginning of the parsha wherein Hashem tells Moshe in Shemos 10:1-2 that He has hardened Pharaoh's heart in order to show these wonders as well as so that the Jews can tell their children and grandchildren of how Hashem made a mockery (Hisallalati) of the Egyptians.
R' Frand quoted the Tolner Rebbi of Jerusalem who noted that the only time that Hashem says that He made a mockery of Pharaoh was in connection with the plague of locusts. But why is this what needs to be told to our children and grandchildren?
R' Frand noted that Pharaoh was evil incarnate as he ordered that Jewish children be drowned, or placed as bricks in a wall and plastered over. But Pharaoh is also referred to by Shlomo in Mishlei as a "Letz" - a clown who should be smacked. We see this through the Avodas Parech - which the mefarshim explain means he had the men do women's work and the women do men's work - all to humiliate them. For this reason the Gemara instructs that we can't do this for our servants - to make them do work and then throw away the end result in front of them.
R' Frand quoted the Ramban in Bo who explains that the redemption from Egypt was meant to demonstrate that Hashem runs the world middah k'neged middah - the same way they acted was done back to them. This is seen in the Az Yashir in which the mefarshim explain that the more wicked the Egyptian, the more they suffered. The most cruel sank like straw, so they drowned over and over and could not do anything about it.
This is what Hashem wanted the Jews to see and tell their children - that there are repercussions and that Pharaoh got back in spades, but in the same manner that he dished out.
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