Friday, December 27, 2013

what if Pharoah listens?

1) Normally history is a byproduct of events.  The Revolutionary War happened for whatever reasons it happened, and now, after the fact, on July 4 we eat hot dogs and watch baseball and remember those events. Sefas Emes explains that when it comes to yetzi’as Mitzrayim, the opposite is true.  “…V’yedatem ki ani Hashem,” (6:7) knowing G-d is not a byproduct, something that comes after the fact as the zeicher -– it is the cause.  Mitzrayim, galus, is hester panim.  If there is “v’yedatem ki ani Hashem,” there is no galus. 

2) Why it is that when Pharoah asked Moshe to daven to Hashem to remove the plague of frogs from Egypt, Moshe complied and did as he was asked?  Why didn’t Moshe just leave it to G-d, or tell Pharoah to daven for himself if he wants the plague removed?  Who ever said it was Moshe’s job to remove the makkah? 

Yesterday I suggested that the power of tefilah is built into nature, just like the force of gravity.  R’ Simcha Bunim m’Peshischa says the same here with respect to power of the tzadik.  There is a parallel between the story of creation and the story of Yetziyas Mitzrayim.  Both events teach us that G-d creates nature and is it’s master; He is not subject to it’s laws.  Yetziyas Mitzrayim is, “sod chidush ha’olam,” in the words of the Kol Simcha.  (The Sefas Emes speaks at length about the parallel between the 10 makkos and the 10 ma'mamaros used to create the world.)  The Torah therefore sets precedent here, at the foundation of creation, for Moshe to act not only as G-d’s messenger to bring the makkos, but also for his having the power to remove them.  The tzadik’s dominion over nature is built into creation; it’s not something that is imposed after the fact.    

3) Moshe argued that if Bnei Yisrael did not listen, “Aich yisma’eini Pharoah?”  (6:12) Rashi explains that Moshe was using logic and making a kal v’chomer: if Bn”Y won’t listen, certainly Pharoah won’t .  The Imrei Emes, however, explains that Moshe was saying to G-d that if Bnei Yisrael refused to listen, then how can he go to Pharaoh – what if Pharoah **does** listen?  How could he create such an embarrassment for Klal Yisrael that they refused to listen, but Pharoah did!  This is the same argument Yonah used when he ran away rather than go to Ninveh. 

4)  The answer to Moshe’s question of “Lamah harei’osa?” is ”Vayidaber Elokim… Ani Hashem.”  What we perceive as Elokim, the midas hadin, is really the midas harachamim disguised in a way that is impossible for us to recognize.


  1. Re: 4. Someone once said דין is the greatest חסד

  2. Kosel remains standing because it was built with gifts from the poor?
    As for the story about the angels saying "This Wall, the work of the poor, shall never be destroyed" -- a book called “Agadot Eretz Yisrael” by Ze’ev Vilnai records and notes that it is "a legend." Three other books mention this story -- see "HaBayit Hayehudi" by R' Aharon Zakai (IV pg. 310), "HaRovah HaYehudi" by Ahron Bir (pg. 1), "Yerushalayim" by Yitzchak Shapiro (p. 183). On the website page, I have noted that this is "a popular Jewish legend."
    So there is no legitimate source that the Kosel HaMaaravi was built by the poor.