Vertluch: Parshas Bo

(Thursday, January 17th, 2013)

The ten maccos that were brought upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians weren’t random acts of punishments but rather every single macca had a specific reason why thats type of punishment was inflicted upon the Egyptians. The Meforshim go thru tremendous detail to explain the reason for each macca.

By the macca of locust, they ask why Hashem precisely chose to bring that macca? They answer, that the Egyptians forced the Jews to work for them by planting wheat, barley and all types of beans. Therefore, the locusts were brought in and destroyed everything that the Jews had done.

What is difficult to understand is why did Hashem bring this type of punishment? When a person works hard towards achieving something they want to see results. When someone works hard towards something and it is then destroyed, it is extremely disheartening and frustrating. At the end of the day bnei Yisroel worked very hard on the produce. Shouldn’t Hashem have left the produce for the moral of bnei Yisroel so they can bask in the glory of their accomplishments?

When a father disciplines a child, the proper and only way for it to be effective is if there is an otherwise healthy relationship between the two. If the child feels that his best interest is shared by the father and the child constantly feels loved, then this isolated incident is much easier for the child to accept.

This parable can be used to give us the proper frame of mind when dealing with the trials and tribulations of a regular day. We wake up each and every day and it is full of gifts and generosity from Above. There are occasional times when Hashem feels it necessary to scold us. Then, even that discipline should be viewed in a positive light for although we don’t understand it, it is much easier to deal with as we are receiving it from Hashem with whom we have built a strong union with.

Pharaoh had his bechira taken away from him and didn’t have the ability to do teshuva. At what point of time was it taken away from him? The Brisker Rov says it was now, by the macca of Barad. As Rashi, points out in last weeks parsha, (9; 14) ‘we learn from here that the plague of the firstborn is equivalent to all the plagues.’ What connection was there to the last macca from Barad? Says Brisker Rov, it was at this point when the bechira of Pharaoh was taken away and maccas bechoros was inevitable, now that his bechira was gone.

By maccas arbeh, Hashem punished the Egyptian in an area that affected bnei Yisroel too. Through this they understood that everything was happening for their benefit. Hashem wanted them to understand that even if it is not so good at the present moment, it was amidst a wave of kindness. Up until this point it was hard for them to accept. But once they understood this they were able to accept that whatever Hashem brought on them was for their good, even if it looked like it may affect them negatively; it was amidst a surge of goodness and hope.

The test for us is to view our entire life as one big chessed from Hashem. When a person is able to do this then even when there are uncomfortable occurrences in life, they will recognize it as being done with chessed and in our best interest.

If a person brings Hashem into his life only when he has a besura, it is much harder for them to comprehend this realization. If one constantly realizes that their mundane activities are from Hashem then the occasional bump in the road will also be viewed as kindness.

May we all be zoche.

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