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Jewish Thinking

Pesach: Three Gems About The Holiday

Published on Tuesday April 7th, 2020

Rav Mordechai Steboun, a student of the Vaizra Yitzchak Collel,  offers us three gems on Pesach, to spiritually enhance our experience!

Six children for Six days of suffering!

"Now the children of Israel had risen, swarmed, and had multiplied exceedingly, and they filled the land" (Haggadah of Pesach)

Our sages presume from this verse that the births of Bnei Israel were supernatural. Indeed, women delivered six children per birth!

The Ben Ish Chai explains, in the name of the Midrash Rabbah on Shemot, that when Moshe Rabbeinu found out that the Bnei Israel did not get a single day of rest,  he went to address Pharaoh:

"Anyone who owns slaves knows that ones must give them at least one day of rest per week, or they’ll die." Pharaoh accepted and thus, thanks to Moshe Rabbeinu, the Jewish people were granted a day of rest: Shabbat.

The Egyptians enslaved the Bnei Israel six days a week. But ironically, it is written: "But the more the people were oppressed, the more its population multiplied and overflowed ..." (Shemot 1,12)

Thus, measure for measure, Jewish women gave birth to six children per delivery, one for each day of servitude endured during the week.

Twice as many lice!

  It is stated in Tehillim 105: "Wild beasts all over the country were infested with lice", which suggests that the first outnumbered the latter. But the Torah mentions that lice outnumbered wild beasts. How do we resolve this apparent contradiction?

The Maguid de Duvna, answers with a parable:

A rich businessman prepared a wedding for his son. He asked his staff to organize the seven days of celebration after the wedding in the following manner: on the first day, the only family would be invited. On the 2nd day, only businessmen. On the third day, only Torah scholars, on the fourth day, only the poor and destitute, etc..So, in short, each person would partake once.

On the fourth day, a staff member noticed the presence of a person who had already participated on the first day. He called out:  "Hey! You! You were already here on the first day!

Yes, but I have been invited twice,  the guest argued.

How is it possible?

On the first day, I came as a family member, but today I come as a poor person ... "

In the same way, explains the Maguid de Duvna, the lice struck by and of themselves the first time. But then they returned during the plague of the wild animals of which they were also part!

The strength of self-control

Our Sages explain that at the end of the plague of frogs, the latter died, with the exception of those who threw themselves into the ovens to obey the divine order to invade all of Egypt.

On the other hand, when leaving Egypt, the text writes that the dogs did not bark at the people of Israel. As a reward, they received the carrion carcasses of animals.

It's amazing! A priori, frogs made a much bigger sacrifice by throwing themselves into the ovens. Why didn’t they receive a reward like the dogs who simply refrained from barking?

We learn great teaching from this: as surprising as this may seem, remaining silent is much more difficult than throwing oneself into the fire. This is especially true for a dog who, by essence, is loud and excited. Nonetheless, dogs were able to restrain themselves by not barking at the Bene Israel.

Self-control is therefore considered a more meritorious behavior than that of throwing oneself in the fire ...

Rav Mordékhai STEBOUN - © Torah-Box Account

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