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Run to do a mitzvah!

Written by Nisso (blanga) stein

There’s a lot going on in Parashas Va’eira. We learn about the first seven plagues, and next week, the last three. Each plague on its own is another dvar Torah. The Jews are being overly oppressed with hard work physically, emotionally, and mentally. It’s hard to comprehend, but when Hashem sent Moshe to get involved in taking the Jews out of Egypt, their work intensified. Moshe asked Hashem, “Has Your Attribute of Mercy changed to the Attribute of Justice?!” Hashem rebuked Moshe saying, “Even when My actions appear harsh, they emanate from Mercy! Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, and Klal Yisroel never complained – even when they never saw Me fulfill the promise I made to them.” Klal Yisroel are therefore worthy of being redeemed.”[1]

Moshe and Aaron were sent to Pharoh to give him the message that Hashem wanted His people out of Egypt. Hashem warned Moshe that He will harden Pharoh’s heart in order to increase His miracles and wonders in the land of Egypt. Pharoh asked for a sign to show that the One Who sent them has power. Aaron took his rod, threw it down before Pharoh, and turned it into a serpent. He then turned it back into a rod. Pharoh called his magicians to do the same, and was not impressed. Aaron’s rod then ate all the other rods. [2] Pharoh’s heart hardened and he did not let the Jews go.

That was only a sign. Then began the first plague. Hashem told Moshe to go by the river early in the morning, where he will meet up with Pharoh. (Pharoh told the Egyptians that he was a G-d, and never needed to relieve himself. He woke up extra early to relieve himself by the river, in order that no one should see.) Moshe told Aaron to smite the Nile River, which suddenly turned into blood. The second plague wasn’t exactly a pleasant one. When Aaron hit the river, one HUGE frog popped out, and every time an Egyptian would strike it, the frog would multiply.

I would love to write about the rest of the plagues, but I want to focus on this next piece of the story. Pharoh’s magicians also made frogs emerge upon the land, but it never mentions in the Torah that they made them disappear. Pharoh called for Moshe and Aaron and said, “Pray to G-d, and let Him remove the frogs from me and from my people, and I will send the people to sacrifice to Hashem.” Moshe asked him, “When should I pray for you?” Pharoh answered, “Pray today that it be destroyed by tomorrow.” [3]

The posuk says that Moshe and Aaron left, and [Moshe] cried out. Rashi writes, “[Moshe] cried out immediately. [4] This one word ‘miyad’ (immediately) got me thinking. Why did it have to write “immediately”? An answer can be, we see from this, Moshe loved having a connection with Hashem. He saw an opportunity to speak to Him, and took it. When there’s something a person really wants to do, whether learn Torah, or play football, he gets this inner drive to do it.

It’s fun watching little kids. Whenever I leave the fridge door open for a minute, my son, Gavriel, crawls as fast as he can to touch whatever he can in the fridge. It’s exciting for him, and he loves it. He literally drops whatever is in his hands and zooms quickly before he loses the chance. We can apply that by us as well…

A lesson I learned from this week’s parasha: Often we procrastinate until the last minute. We see that Moshe enjoyed praying to Hashem, taking any opportunity to communicate with Him. We also see the inner drive Pharoh had, when waking up extra early in the morning because he didn’t want the Egyptians to find out he too, relieves himself like any other human. It’s not easy waking up early in the morning, but when you have that spark, you are willing to sacrifice some sleep for it. Unfortunately Pharoh was applying his enthusiasm (of keeping his title as G-d) in going against Hashem, as opposed to Moshe, who was using his enthusiasm to connect and get closer to Him. When we have an opportunity to do a mitzvah, or to build a connection with Hashem (by praying to Him), we shouldn’t push it off. We should grab the opportunity immediately, just like Moshe did.

Have a wonderful Shabbos,


[1] Shemos Rabba 6:3
[2] Shemos Rabba 9:5
[3] Rashi 8:6
[4] Rashi 8:8

Nisso’s Insights on the Weekly Torah Portion.

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