And the Darkness Could be Felt

The darkness is more than the physical absence of light.

HaRav Avigdor Miller zts"l

Judaism HaRav Avigdor Miller zts"l
HaRav Avigdor Miller zts"l
INN:Toras Avigdor

This was a thick cloud of dust particles which stifled those that inhaled it.

The source of this dense dust cloud may have been a volcanic eruption or it could have been a bombardment of meteoric dust. The darkness was “felt," for it was not merely the absence of light.

This was a spectacular miracle, for it came at Moshe’s command: “And Moshe stretched out his hand over the skies, and there was a thick darkness. . ." (10:22). The land was suffocated; breathing was possible only under a blanket, but even the blankets were blackened by the heavy soot.

For three days all activity came to a total standstill, and men suffered a living death because of the dearth of light and air. Very many succumbed and perished.

The darkness that suffocated Egypt was certainly intended for additional purposes, one of which was the demonstration that  Egypt (and all the nations) walk in a dense darkness of error.

But for "all the sons of Israel there was light" (10:23), for the truth is known solely by Hashem’s people: “but upon you Hashem shines" (Isaiah 60:2).

We shall not err in understanding that the gods of Egypt were hereby overthrown, because the worship ofthe sun and the moon was a chief element of idolatry.

The celestial orbs were blotted out by the intense blackness, despite the entreaties of the worshippers of the sun and the moon.

Our tradition (Shmos Rabbah 14:3) states that many Israelites perished at this time.They had become friendly with some Egyptians that became their patrons and had caused them to acquire some wealth.

Now they went lost, and they serve as a model for those of our nation that became enamored with the gentile world and go lost forever in the darkness of the deception and false glamour of the nations.

"Had he been there, he would not have been redeemed" (Haggadah of Pesach).