Rabbi Yoni Kirsch
Rabbi Yoni KirschYair Yulis

lWhen we look at this week's Parsha and the story of the Ten plagues, we must ask ourselves - What is the purpose of all this? Is there a specific goal that the Torah is attempting to achieve? Clearly, it is a huge punishment unleashed on Pharaoh and the Egyptians. It also forces them to surrender so that the Jewish people go free. But can we take note of a process or even logic throughout the ten Makot?

A simple analysis of the pesukim can show us a direction and purpose. Plague after plague advances in a special way which convinces Pharaoh of Hashem's existence and his very personal relationship with this world.

Beginning of Shlichut - I do not know Hashem!

Immediately after Moshe requests to let the Jewish people go, Pharaoh responds (Shemot, 5:2): "And Pharaoh said, "Who is the L-rd that I should heed His voice to let Israel out? I do not know the L-rd, neither will I let Israel out".

He does not recognize Hashem (Shem Hashem). So it starts with the convincing Pharoah of the existence of Him.

Plague of Blood- I am Hashem

The purpose of the Plague of blood is that he'll know that Hashem exists (7:17):

"So said the Lord, "With this you will know that I am the Lord."

Plague of Frogs- None Like Me

Here is an an extra step Pharaoh asks Moshe to remove the frogs, and he agrees to do it, and then adds:

"And he [Pharaoh] said, "For tomorrow." And he [Moses] said, "As you say, in order that you should know that there is none like the L-rd, our God.

The lesson--not only does He exist, but there is no one like him.

Plague of Lice - "Finger Touch" in this World

Once the necromancers were incapable of imitating the miracle, they declare (8:15):

"So the necromancers said to Pharaoh, "It is the finger of G-d," but Pharaoh's heart remained steadfast, and he did not hearken to them, as the Lord had spoken".

A "finger of G-d" means he is touching this world. It might be minor and distant, but it is a touch, not just a remote force projectingfrom a distance.

Plague of Wild Animals - In the Midst of the Earth

"And I will separate on that day the land of Goshen, upon which My people stand, that there will be no mixture of noxious creatures there, in order that you know that I am the L-rd in the midst of the earth." (8:18)

Here, Hashem is not only above the earth and is All Mighty, but actually -"in the midst of the earth".

Rashi expounds and adds: "Although My Shechinah is in heaven, My decree is fulfilled in the lower worlds". But it doesn't stop here.

Plague of Pestilence for a Full Hand

"Behold, the hand of the L-rd will be upon your livestock". (9:3)

Here it is a hand that us upon the Egyptians. Meaning, more than just a "finger touch".

A hand represents a deliberate act of Providence. Pharoh's nightmarish education is being ramped up a notch.

Plague of Hail - To Declare My Name

Here, Pharoh recognizes that there is no one like Hashem in the entire earth

In addition, Pharaoh demands to take part in this process and he actually declares His name all over the world (9:14-16):

"Because this time, I am sending all of My plagues into your heart and into your servants and into your people, in order that you know that there is none like Me in the entire earth.

For if now I had stretched forth My hand, and I had smitten you and your people with pestilence, you would have been annihilated from the earth.

But, for this [reason] I have allowed you to stand, in order to show you My strength and in order to declare My name all over the earth."

Plague of Locusts- Punishment and Reward

At this point Pharaoh reaches a higher understanding of the Creator and speaks of punishment and reward (10:16):

"Pharaoh hastened to summon Moses and Aaron, and he said, "I have sinned against the L-rd your G-d and against you.

this death."

Plague of Darkness - You Too Shall Give Sacrifices

Pharaoh is not only required to ALLOW them leave and worship their God, but will help them do so, by donating from his cattle (10:25) :

"But Moses said, "You too shall give sacrifices and burnt offerings into our hands, and we will make them for the Lord our God."

Plague of Bechorot - Bless Me Too

Here Pharaoh not only allows, not only assists, but also requests to be blessed from Am Yisrael's Bracha,

He understands that God has a nation that brings blessing to everyone (12:31-32):

"Take also your flocks and also your cattle, as you have spoken, and go, but you shall also bless me".

Now we can go!