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Rabbi Pesach Scheiner

The Purpose of the Plagues

Rabbi Pesach Scheiner
Rabbi Pesach Scheiner

In this week’s Torah portion we learn about the last three plagues and the plague of locusts which ate all the remaining greenery of Egypt, leaving Egypt bare and lifeless.  Then came the plague of Darkness which in the final three days of the plague the darkness became so thick that the Egyptian could not move their bodies. It was followed by the final plague which the Torah tells us was extremely harsh and convinced Pharoh to let the Jews leave-the plague of the “Slaying of the First born Egyptians”.

The commentaries ask why did G-d have to bring the plagues, he could have brought one very severe plague similar to the slaying of the first born Egyptians and accomplished his goal in a more simple and quick  manner.  The answer is that the purpose of the plagues was not only to convince Pharoh to let the Jews leave but also to eradicate and transform the bad force that Pharoh and the Egyptians represented.  As the verse states regarding the effects of the plagues ” The Egyptians will know that I am G-d.”  This transformation cannot take place instantly rather it’s a process that takes time to penetrate the consciousness  of the Egyptians.

The lessons of the Torah are eternal. In our times we are witnessing an outburst of evil terrorism.  Sometimes we feel that we don’t have the power to change it.  The Torah teaches us that the greatest evils can be conquered and we need to partake in fighting and then G-d will help us accomplish our goal. (Based on the teachings of the Chabad Rebbes.)

About Rabbi Pesach Scheiner

Rabbi Pesach Scheiner is the Rabbi of Boulder County Center for Judaism. In addition, he teaches extensively throughout Boulder County and is the author of "Finding the Joy in Everyday Living," a book of short chapters explaining the ways to access happiness through appreciation, gratitude, and a sense of purpose.

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