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  KD MAGAZINE!      ב"ה                    
 
 
  PARSHAT VAEYRA  
 

By Rabbi Yonassan Biggs

RABBI YONASSAN BIGGS - PARSHAT HASHAVUA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

Shalom and Bracha!

  May Hashem grant peace and security to all of the people in Israel and guard the Jewish people from harm.

  This week we read the portion of Vaeyra and bless the month of Shevat. The portion describes the first seven of the ten plagues that preceded the exodus from Egypt. The ten plagues were more than a punishment for the Egyptians for their evil ways, and more than a demonstration of Hashem’s might. Each of them cleansed a different aspect of the negativity of Egypt. This is also why the plagues were in the number ten; Hashem created the world with ten utterances and the impurity of Egypt defiled every aspect of the world. It was therefore necessary for the purification to be in ten steps. We also find parallels between the plagues and the utterances of creation: Let there be light and the plague of darkness, Let the Earth give forth vegetation and the plague of locusts that destroyed the plants, Let the Earth give forth living animals and the plague of pestilence which killed the animals, Let the waters give forth life and the blood killing the fish, Let us create man and the plague of the firstborn, and so forth.

  Each of the plagues teaches us lessons in life. The first plague was blood. All of the waters in Egypt turned to blood. Water is cold, whereas blood is warm. In order to begin to escape our negativity, we need to change our coldness to warmth. The first plague was against the Nile because that was the idol of Egypt. Nevertheless, it spread to all of the waters in Egypt. This teaches us that when we do something wrong and mend our ways, we should improve ourselves entirely, not just the immediate mistake.

  The second plague was frogs. The Torah stresses that the frogs went everywhere, including the ovens. Unlike the destructive plagues, like the wild animals and the locusts, the frogs simply made noise. Nevertheless, they were ready to go into ovens, endangering themselves. Sometimes, we feel our Mitzvah or our contribution to the future of the Jewish people is not very significant, and therefore not worthy of sacrifice or excess effort. The frogs teach us the opposite. Whatever we do for Hashem, and whatever we do to advance His plan, must be done with total devotion and self sacrifice.

  The third plague was lice. During the first three plagues, Pharaoh summoned magicians to imitate the plagues. They succeeded with the first two. When it came to the plague of lice, the magicians couldn’t imitate the plague and admitted this is the Finger of G-d. Rashi explains that magic can’t work on things that are so small. This is a lesson for all of us in our approach to the Torah. Often, we can grasp the general lesson of a particular Mitzvah. However, when it comes to the minute details, they make no sense to us. Seemingly, if a Mezuzah is affixed to my doorpost, constantly reminding me of Hashem’s presence, what difference does it make if a letter is missing or damaged? Similarly, I can perceive that a pig is a filthy animal and shouldn’t be eaten. What difference is there however what utensils I use? The answer is that this is the Finger of G-d. Only Hashem, who created the world with all of its intricacies, can fathom the minor details of creation. Similarly, only His unfathomable wisdom can grasp the meaning of the minute details of a Mitzvah. By fulfilling the exact details, we reach the Finger of G-d.

  The fourth plague was the mixture of animals. Hashem distinguished between the Egyptian and the Israelite homes and the animals only entered the homes of the Egyptians. This teaches us that we must distinguish between human behavior and animalistic behavior. Our homes must be free from any lowly and animalistic influences from society.

  The sixth plague was boils. Aharon took ash and threw it to the sky. It spread over the entire Egypt and afflicted all of the people and animals. Sometimes we feel that our acts are insignificant. We must realize that one Mitzvah can spread over the entire world and bring healing and good.

  The seventh plague was that of hail. The hailstones were filled with flickering flames. Rashi comments that this was a special miracle: fire and water made peace in order to fulfill the will of Hashem. Often, we have people who are very different from us and hard to work with. Sometimes, for the benefit of Judaism and the Jewish people, or the furtherance of good in the world, it is just those people that we need to cooperate with. The hail teaches us a tremendous lesson: there are no greater opposites than hail and fire. We must overcome our differences and cooperate to reach the ultimate goal. The exile was caused through strife and will end through acts of unity.

  Before the Jewish people entered the land of Israel, Moshe began to expound the Torah in depth and lucidity on Rosh Chodesh Shvat. When Moshiach comes, we are assured he will reveal a new dimension in the depth of Torah. May this Rosh Chodesh Shevat be the beginning of that revelation and the return to Israel.

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov,

 Rabbi Biggs
  Rabbi Yonassan Biggs is from Chabad of Great Neck, NY. His website is: http://www.chabadgn.com/
 
 

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