Monday, January 22, 2007

Tosefet Bracha - Bo

Here is a further attempt at translating from Rav Baruch HaLevi Epstein's Tosefet Bracha. Hopefully there will be more to follow later in the week.
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Parshat Bo

“And the locusts came up on all of the land of Egypt and rested on all the borders of Egypt.” (10;14)

According to the explanations of the verses, the land of Goshen where the Israelites lived was not affected by any of the plagues except for the plague of locusts. The reason is that the Israelites were about to leave Egypt in the very near future, and G-d did not want their crops to remain for the Egyptians to eat. This is implicit in the words “on all the borders of Egypt” – even in Goshen.

“And there was darkness” (10; 21)

Rashi in the name of the midrash asks, ‘why did G-d bring the plague of darkness on the Egyptians?’ and he gives two answers. Why did the midrash feel the need to ask the reason for the plague only about the plague of darkness and not about any of the other plagues?
It seems that the reason that they asked only about this plague is because in all the other plagues the Egyptians could see that only they were smitten, and the Israelites were not affected. Therefore each plague was clearly miraculous. But in the plague of darkness, when the Egyptians couldn’t see anything they may have thought that it was a natural phenomenon which affected also the Israelites. Therefore the midrash asks why G-d brought this plague on them, since the miraculous nature of the plague itself was not as obvious as in the others, and the Egyptians would have been able to doubt its Divine origin.

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