Illuminations #18, Tevet 5775, Parshat Bo

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Illuminations #18, Tevet 5775, Parshat Bo

Torah Gems

ויאמר ה’ אל משה בא אל פרעה כי אני הכבדתי את לבו ואת לב עבדיו למען שתי אותתי אלה בקרבו

ולמען תספר באזני בנך ובן בנך את אשר התעללתי במצרים ואת אותתי אשר שמתי
בם וידעתם כי אני ה

Hashem said to Moshe, “Come to Paroh, for I have made his heart and the heart of his servants stubborn so that I shall place these signs of mine in his midst; and so that you may relate in the ears of your son and your son’s son that I have amused myself with Egypt and my signs that I placed among them – that you may know that I am Hashem.”

The question is asked, why specifically in makat arbeh is Hashem
saying that we should tell over these miracles to our children and grandchildren, as opposed to the rest of the makot where it does not mention to relay these stories to our children?

The Ramban quotes Rabenu Chanan’el: “Since the time of Moshe until today the locusts (arbeh) will not eat from the crops of Egypt and they will only eat from the land of Israel or other countries.”  The Kli Yakar explains that from the 9 other makot nothing was left over to remind us or the Egyptians of these makot, no ruins or “landmarks” that these makot took place besides for this one maka, the maka of locusts.

So if a child will find a locust in Egypt, he will see that it will not eat from the land, and he will ask his father why it is the case? The answer will be because with the removal of the locusts from Egypt, the Torah says not one locust was left in Egypt, they left not to come back. Therefore it is appropriate for the Torah to tell us during this maka that we should teach our children about the makot, because this is the only remembrance we can find today from the ten makot.

Parshah Pearls

As we approach the last 3 makot given to the Egyptians, the 1st is makat ארבה (arbeh). How did Moshe Rabenu know to give this specific maka as it doesn’t mention that Hashem told Moshe anywhere about this makat (ארבה), as opposed to the rest of the makot where Hashem told Moshe  what maka was coming so he could tell Paroh?

A chasidisher Rebbe (his name was forgotten) says we can find in the 1st  pasuk a hint for this maka. It says ויאמר ה’ אל משה בא אל פרעה. There is a rule in Hebrew that the letters are categorized according to the way they are pronounced like this: ‘ ב’ ו’ מ’ פ are from the mouth,  ד’ ט’ ל’ נ’ ת’ use the tounge, ז’ ס’ ש’ ר’ צ’ are from the teeth, ג’ י’ כ’ ק’ are from the palates, and א’ ח’ ה’ ע’ are from the throat. Based on this rule the letters are interchangeable in their own category.
So since we have established that the letters ב & פ are in the same group, and א & ע are in another, now they may be swapped: take the letters ב&א and replace them with the פ & ע from the wordפרעה and it will spell בראה, which are the letters of ארבה. So the pasuk says take בא and put into אל the word פרעה.
However, I found a much simpler answer. The end of that pasuk says למען שתי אותתי אלה בקרבו (so I shall put my atot in him), in the last 3 words אותתי אלה בקרבו if you remove the י from אותתי it will spell אותת, and then unscrabble the letters אלה בקרבו plus theי  its spells ילקו בארבה: HaShem told Moshe, “I will put my atot on them through arbeh.”

Halachah Weekly

Q:  Should one make a berachah before taking medicine? And what about the water used to swallow it, should one make a berachah over it or not?
A:  A person should make a blessing on anything that one derives benefit from. However, if one drinks water and derives no benefit from it, then one cannot make a berachah over the water.  This applies also to medicine: since one does not taste it, a berachah is not made over it or the water taken to swallow it. If the purpose of drinking water is only in order to facilitate taking the medicine by swallowing it easily, then one does not have to make a berachah on it. If one is thirsty at the same time one takes the medicine, then one should  make a berachah on the water. The same applies if one takes milk, juice or soda in order to swallow the medicine: then one would make a berachah.

Glimpses of Greatness

Reb Zushe from Anapoli was very poor and he couldn’t afford a dowry for his daughter. His wife urged him to go out to raise money by collecting from people door-to-door. He went to a nearby city to visit the Chief Rabbi, Rav Pinchas from Koritz,who was also a friend. After they exchanged greetings, the Rav asked him the purpose of his visit. When Reb Zushe requested a letter of recommendation to show people when he goes collecting, the Rav thought that it would be inappropriate to allow such a distinguished Yid to collect like any regular pauper. He pulled 300 rubles from his pocket and sent Reb Zushe on his way.
As Reb Zushe was exiting the city, he came across a widow who was sitting on the ground crying. He was told that the widow had lost 300 rubles and had no other money. Reb Zushe began helping to search for the missing rubles and after a few minutes he jumped up holding 300 rubles in his hands: “I ‘found’ the missing rubles!” Before giving it back to the widow, however, he insisted that she let him keep 50 of the rubles as reward for finding them. The widow became angry and as they were arguing, some people standing nearby grabbed the money from his hands and handed it over to the widow.
Reb Zushe was then escorted out of the city in disgrace. The men who had witnessed this encounter went to Rav Pinchas to tell him what had happened and he realized from their description that it was Reb Zushe. He did not understand, however, why Reb Zushe had insisted on keeping 50 rubles for himself. The next time they met, Rav Pichas asked Reb Zushe for an explanation. Reb Zushe explained: “If I would’ve given the money so easily, I would’ve been given a lot of respect for the deed. I was afraid that this respect would diminish the reward from the mitzvah so I chose to make a scene so that the mitzvah would be complete.”

In honor of Mr. Scott Italiaander for his wonderful leadership of Yeshiva Ohr Yisrael.
By Drs. Dan and Kim Cohen