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Pesukim: 121 [Siman: גיבעול]
Haftorah: Yechezkal 28:25-29:21
|Number of Mitzvos:
There are no Positive or Negative commands mentioned in Parshas Vaeira.
- Hashem responds to Moshe’s accusations:
- Hashem told Moshe that He had appeared to his forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov with his name Shakaiy and did not make His name Havaya known to them. He had established His covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan. Now, “I have also heard the cry of the Jewish people who are enslaved in Egypt, and I have remembered my covenant.”
- The Torah recounts Moshe’s appointment to approach Pharaoh:
- Hashem instructed Moshe “Now, go tell the Jewish people that I will take them out from the Egyptian slavery, with an outstretched arm and great wonders. I will take you for me as a nation, and I will be your G-d. You will know that I am Hashem your G-d who takes you out of the burdens of Egypt. I will bring you to the land that I promised your forefathers and give it to you as an inheritance.”
- Moshe spoke these words to the Jewish people, but was ignored due to the enormous work and labor.
- Hashem spoke to Moshe saying, “Go speak to Pharaoh the king of Egypt and tell him to send the Jewish people from his land.” Moshe replied back to Hashem, “If even the Jewish people would not listen to me, how can I expect Pharaoh to listen, and I have a speech impairment.” Hashem spoke to Moshe and Aaron, commanding them regarding Bnei Yisrael and Pharaoh, to take the Jewish people out of Egypt.
- Moshe and Aaron’s lineage:
- The following are the heads of the families of the Jewish people:
- The firstborn is Reuvein. The following are his sons:
- Shimon had the following sons:
- Shaul the son of a Canaanite.
- Levi had the following sons:
- Levi lived for a total of 137 years.
- Gershom had the following sons:
- Kehos had the following sons:
- Kehos lived for 133 years.
- Merori had the following sons:
- Amram married his aunt Yocheved, and had Aaron and Moshe.
- Amram lived for 137 years.
- Yitzhar had the following sons:
- Uzziel had the following sons:
- Aaron’s family: Aaron married Elisheva the daughter of Aminadov, and their children were: Nadav, Avihu, Elazar, and Ithamar
- Korach’s family: The children of Korach were Assir, Elkanah, and Aviasaf.
- Elazara’s family: Elazar the son of Aaron married one of the daughters of Putiel, and they had Pinchas.
- These were the leaders of the family of Levi’im.
- Hashem instructs Moshe:
- Hashem told Moshe to go and tell Pharaoh all that I commanded you, and Moshe replied that he has a speech impairment and hence cannot talk. Hashem replied to Moshe that He has appointed him as a ruler to Pharaoh, and Aaron will be his speaker. “You will speak all that I have commanded you, and Aaron will speak to Pharaoh, and he will send the Jewish people from his land. I will harden Pharaoh’s heart and increase my miracles and wonders in Egypt. Pharaoh will not listen to you, and I will smite Egypt and take out my nation from Egypt with great plagues. Egypt will then know that I am G-d.” Moshe and Aaron did as they were told.
- Moshe was 80 years old while Aaron was 83 years old at the time they spoke to Pharaoh.
- The staff turns into a snake:
- Hashem instructs Moshe and Aaron to throw the staff: Hashem told Moshe and Aaron that when Pharaoh asks them to show him a wonder, then you Moshe should tell Aaron to throw the staff in front of Pharaoh and it will miraculously turn into a snake.
- Moshe and Aaron did as they were instructed, and they appeared before Pharaoh. Aaron threw the staff in front of Pharaoh and his servants, and it turned into a snake. Pharaoh summoned his sages and sorcerers, and they too did the above using witchcraft. They threw their staff and it turned into a serpent. Aaron’s staff then went ahead and swallowed their staff. Pharaoh hardened his heart and did not agree to let the people go, as Hashem predicted.
- Moshe returned to Hashem and Hashem said to him that Pharaoh has refused to grant permission for the people to go. Hashem then instructed Moshe to perform the first plague, the plague of blood.
- The plague of blood:
- Hashem’s instructions to Moshe to warn Pharaoh and perform the plague: Hashem told Moshe: Go to Pharaoh in the morning while he is going down to the river and meet him at the river banks. Bring your staff that was turned into a snake, with you. Tell him that Hashem, the G-d of the Hebrews has sent me to you to demand that you let his people go serve him in the desert, and since you have thus far refused, He will now prove to you that He is G-d. “I will smite the river using my staff and it will turn into blood. The fish contained in the river will die and pollute the river. Egypt will not be able to drink water from the river.” Hashem then told Moshe to tell Aaron to take the staff and stretch it over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, wells, lakes and ponds, and it will turn into blood. All of Egypt will be filled with blood including wood and rocks.
- Moshe and Aaron turn the water into blood: Moshe and Aaron did as G-d instructed them and he lifted the staff and struck the water in front of Pharaoh and his servants, and all the water in the river turned into blood. The fish in the river died and the river became polluted. The Egyptians could not drink from the river. There was blood in the entire land of Egypt.
- Egyptian sorcerers do the same and Pharaoh remains stubborn: Egyptian sorcerers used witchcraft to do the same, and likewise turn water into blood. [As a result] Pharaoh hardened his heart and did not adhere their request, as predicted by Moshe. Pharaoh went home and ignored the plague.
- The effect on Egypt: All the Egyptians dug around the river in search for water, as they could not drink from the river. The river remained in its state of blood for seven days.
- The plague of frogs:
- Hashem’s instructions to Moshe to warn Pharaoh and perform the plague: Hashem told Moshe to go to Pharaoh and tell him that G-d has commanded him to free His nation, so they can serve Him, and if you refuse to send them, your entire country will be struck by a plague of frogs. The river will become infested with frogs and they will enter your home, your bedrooms, your bed, the homes of your servants and people, your ovens and your dough. Hashem told Moshe to tell Aaron to stretch the staff over the rivers, ponds and lakes and bring the frogs over the land of Egypt.
- Moshe and Aaron infest Egypt with frogs: Aaron stretched his hand over the waters of Egypt and the frog emerged from the river, and they covered the land
- Egyptian sorcerers do the same: The Egyptian sorcerers used witchcraft to do the same, and likewise brought frogs onto the land of Egypt.
- Pharaoh capitulates to the demands: Pharaoh hardened his heart and did not adhere their request as predicted by Moshe. Pharaoh summoned Moshe and Aaron and asked them to Daven to Hashem to remove the frogs from him and his nation, and I will agree to let the people go to serve Hashem. Moshe asked Pharaoh as to when he wants him to pray to G-d to remove the frogs from amongst his nation, and Pharaoh replied [that he should pray for them to be removed] the [very] next day. Moshe agreed.
- Moshe prays: Moshe and Aaron left the presence of Pharaoh and prayed to Hashem regarding the frogs. Hashem did as Moshe requested, and the frogs died within the houses and courtyards and fields. The dead frogs were heaped up into piles and they polluted the land.
- Pharaoh refuses to let them go: Pharaoh saw that his country was relieved of the plague and he hardened his heart to not adhere to Hashem’s command to let the people go.
- The plague of lice:
- Hashem’s instructions to Moshe to perform the plague: Hashem told Moshe to tell Aaron to take the staff and hit the dust of the earth, and it will turn into lice. All of Egypt will be filled with lice.
- Moshe and Aaron turn the dust of the land to lice: Moshe and Aaron did as G-d instructed them and he lifted the staff and struck the dust of the earth and there were lice all over the people and animals. All of the dust of Egypt turned to lice.
- Egyptian sorcerers fail to replicate the miracle, but Pharaoh remains stubborn: The Egyptian sorcerers tried using witchcraft to do the same and were unsuccessful. They came to Pharaoh and told him that this plague is the hand of G-d. Pharaoh, however, hardened his heart and refused to adhere to Hashem’s demands.
- The plague of wild animals [Arov]:
- Hashem’s instructions to Moshe to warn Pharaoh and perform the plague: Hashem told Moshe: awaken early in the morning and greet Pharaoh by the river and tell him that Hashem demands that he let His people go so they can serve Him, and if you refuse to send them, I will send against you and your servants wild animals. The wild animals will fill the houses of Egypt and its grounds. I will distinguish on that day between the land of Goshen, on which my nation stands, by not having any wild animals there. You then shall know that I am G-d of the land.
- The plague: Hashem did as he warned, and He brought a heavy mixture of wild animals to Pharaoh’s home and the home of his servants, and they caused destruction throughout the entire land
- Pharaoh reaction and the ensuing negotiations: Pharaoh summoned Moshe and Aaron and told them that they may make sacrifices to their G-d in Egypt. Moshe replied that they cannot do so, as it is an abomination in Egypt to slaughter to G-d, and the Egyptians will stone us for doing so. We need to travel a three-day journey, so we can slaughter for our G-d as He will instruct us. Pharaoh replied that he will agree to send them so they could sacrifice to their Lord in the desert, so long as Moshe does not go far and he prays for him. Moshe replied that as soon as he leaves, he will pray to Hashem on his behalf to remove the wild animals tomorrow, although Pharaoh may no longer retract his word and refuse to let the people go to sacrifice to Hashem.
- Moshe prays: Moshe left his audience with Pharaoh and Davened to Hashem. Hashem did as Moshe asked for and he removed the wild animals from Pharaoh and his nation, not one remained.
- Pharaoh refuses to let them go: Pharaoh hardened his heart this time as well and refused to let the people go.
- The animal plague [Dever]:
- Hashem’s instructions to Moshe to warn Pharaoh and perform the plague: Hashem told Moshe to go to Pharaoh and tell him that Hashem the G-d of the Hebrews demands that he let His people go so they can serve Him, and if you refuse to send them, He will send a heavy disease against your animals that are in the field. This includes the horses, donkeys, camels, cattle, and flock. It will be a very severe epidemic. Hashem will distinguish between the livestock of the Jewish people and that of the Egyptians, and not one Jewish owned animal will die. Hashem set an appointed time, saying that the plague will come the next day.
- The plague: The next day Hashem did as he warned, and all the animals of the Egyptians died while amongst the Jewish people not even one died.
- Pharaoh refuses to let them go: Pharaoh sent messengers to confirm that indeed no animals died amongst the Jewish people, although nevertheless his heart became hardened and he refused to let the people go.
- The plague of boils [Shechin]:
- Hashem’s instructions to Moshe to perform the plague: Hashem told Moshe and Aaron to take a handful of soot, and Moshe should throw it upwards towards the heavens, in the presence of Pharaoh. The soot will spread over all of Egypt and turn into boils and blisters on the people and animals.
- The plague: They took the soot, and in the presence of Pharaoh, Moshe threw it towards the heavens and sure enough it turned into boils and blisters on the skin of man and animals.
- Egyptian sorcerers: The sorcerers could not stand in front of Moshe due to the boils.
- Pharaoh refuses to let them go: Hashem hardened the heart of Pharaoh and he refused to let the people go, as Hashem predicted.
- The plague of hail [Barad]:
- Hashem’s instructions to Moshe to warn Pharaoh: Hashem told Moshe to awaken early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh and tell him that Hashem the G-d of the Hebrews demands that he let His people go so they can serve Him, and if you refuse to send them, this time He will send against you all of his plagues so you know that there is none like Me in Egypt. If I wanted, I could have already wiped you and your nation off the face of the earth. However, I spared you, so you can witness my powers and so My name be declared throughout the world.
- If you still oppress My people and refuse to release them, tomorrow I will rain upon you a very heavy hail of which there has never been before in Egypt.
- Hashem warns the Egyptians to bring in their livestock: Now, send your cattle and everything you have in the field into your homes, as anything that remains outside will be destroyed through the hail. The G-d fearing Egyptians adhered to Hashem’s warning, and brought their slaves and livestock inside. However, those who did not heed His call, left them outside in the field.
- Hashem’s instructions to Moshe to perform the plague: Hashem said to Moshe: Stretch your hand towards the heavens and hail will fall in all the land of Egypt, on the people and the animals, and on all the vegetation of the earth of Egypt.
- The plague: Moshe did as he was told and stretched his hand towards the heavens and Hashem sent thunder and hail and fire struck the ground. The hail contained fire blazing within it. It was very heavy, nothing like Egypt has every seen as a nation. The hail struck everything in the field, from man to animal to vegetation. It broke all the trees. Only in the land of Goshen where the Jewish people lived was there no hail.
- Pharaoh summons Moshe: Pharaoh summoned Moshe and Aaron and told them that he has truly sinned this time, and that Hashem is the righteous and he and his nation are the sinners. Pharaoh asked that Moshe pray to Hashem for the thunder and hail to end and he will send them out without refusing any longer. Moshe replied that he will leave the city and stretch his hands to Hashem in prayer so that the thunder and hail should end so that they know that the earth belongs to Hashem, although he knows that Pharaoh and his people have yet to fear G-d.
- The damage: The flax and the barley were destroyed although the wheat and spelt survived the hail as they had yet to ripen.
- Moshe prays: Moshe left his audience with Pharaoh and left the city. He stretched his arms to Hashem in prayer, and the thunder and hail ceased, and the rain stopped falling.
- Pharaoh refuses to let them go: Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail ceased and he hardened his heart.