Sunday, January 06, 2019

hakaras ha'tov and yetzi'as Mitzrayim

We know that Moshe did not strike the Nile to turn it to blood because the river had protected him as a baby when his mother sent him floating downstream in his little basket.  We know that Moshe did not strike the ground because it was in the ground that he had hidden the body of the Egyptian that he killed.  This was Moshe's expression of hakaras ha'tov even to the inanimate objects that had done good for him. 

Why is hakaras ha'tov so intertwined with the story of yetzi'as Mitzrayim?  See my wife's post here.

And since I am mentioning blog posts by family members, see my son's posts here.


  1. >> "Moshe did not strike the Nile", as an expression of hakaras ha'tov"

    apparently there are two off-the-record exchanges at work here: 1) after pasukim [7:]17 & 18, Moshe tells Hashem, 'I cannot faithfully strike the Nile'; Hashem tells him 'okay just raise your staff over the river' [as if to strike]; Moshe says 'no can do'; Hashem says 'tell Aharon your brother to raise and strike'; Moshe says 'raise only, let that do the trick'; Hashem agrees (at pasuk 19).
    and 2) soon after 19, Hashem tells Aharon, 'don't only raise your staff over the water, but also strike' [and so later he does, at pasuk 20].

    alas, Aharon's sudden thwack shocked Moshe, disturbed him deeply; it reverberated within him until the hour he took that same staff and struck a listening rock, in the midbar, at 20:11*

    *be it noted, however, that centuries after our exit from Mitzrayim, her magicians were still heard shouting out amusedly to one another as to a second explanation for this pasuk: after Aharon's staff ate the sorcery staffs at 7:12, the former snakes simply waited within it... and waited... and waited... at the listening desert rock they in unison convulsed in Moshe's hand-- 'no free lunch!' the magicians cry to one another with delighted recognition, 'no free lunch!'

    >> "here" ... ... "here"

    'hear hear!!'

  2. "it was in the ground that he had hidden the body"

    not simply in chol, sand, but in chol the profane, the common, the unholy (ha'chol, Vay. 10:10): Moshe left the body hidden in plain sight, to appear as any common killing, one man of another [and not as the singular act of a Prince of Egypt]

    but Moshe could not leave it at that; he was disturbed, deeply, by the finality of his action. At death's door, with siyata d'shmaya, he finally saw a way to lift, even to sanctify, the common condition of common things sunken in earth, v'yitm'neihu ba'chol-- the teichelles dye of a lowly snail* lying in muck (t'munei chol, Dev. 33:19) would point to the sea, and so to the sky, and so to the Throne of Glory...

    *Megillah 6a, where sand is equated with glass: shall then Moshe smash glass to draw lice? [perhaps only he would ever 'see' this equation, but not Aharon]