PARSHA ON PARADE IS DEDICATED TO
OF MY DEAR FATHER AND REBBI:
HARAV HAGAON RAV YESHAYA SHIMANOWITZ Z'TZL ,
YESHIVAS RABAINU YAAKOV YOSEF
(RABBI JACOB JOSEPH YESHIVA - RJJ)
IN NYC FOR OVER 23 YEARS.
NIFTAR ON 20 ADAR 5758 - MARCH 18, 1998.
MAY HE BE A MAYLITZ YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL.
MY DEAR MOTHER
REBITZEN BRACHA ETEL SHIMANOWITZ A'H
WHO DEVOTED HER ENTIRE LIFE TO MY FATHER AND HIS TORAH,
NIFTERA ON 21 TEVET 5770 - WED EVE. JANUARY 6, 2010.
MAY SHE BE A MAYLITZA YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL
Menachim Z. Shimanowitz
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NO MITZVOT IN THIS PARSHA
NUMBER OF PESUKIM (SENTENCES): 121
NUMBER OF WORDS: 1748
NUMBER OF LETTERS: 6701
HAFTORA: (Additional portion, from Prophets, which is read after the Parsha) SEE BELOW
Shabbat Mevarchim Chodesh Shvat.
Rosh Chodesh is Today, Shabbat, Jan. 28, 2017.
Because today is Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Shvat -
We take out two Sifrei Torah; seven Aliyahs are read from the first Sefer Torah from Parshat Vaera: Half-Kaddish, followed by the lifting and
closing of that Sefer Torah; Maftir reads in the second Torah from Parshat
Pinchas – (Numbers 28:9-15) the two paragraphs "וביום השבת" and "ובראשי חדשיכם."
The Maftir reads the special Haftora for Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh "השמים כסאי" (Isaiah 66:1-24, repeating verse 23 at the end).
In our last episode Moshe the shepherd went chasing a lamb and came
back a leader. At Hashem's command, he and Aharon headed
back to Mitzrayim (Egypt) with a message. "Let my people
go," they told Pharoh, but Pharoh refused to listen. On the contrary,
Pharoh instituted a new policy: Bricks without straw. Now the Jews
would have to provide their own straw and keep the brick quota steady
all the same. The Bnei Yisroel got mad at Moshe, Moshe
got frustrated and Hashem declared, "Pharoh ain't seen
|| As our Parsha
opens, the Bnei Yisroel are working twice as hard, gathering
straw and still making the same amount of bricks each day. Moshe
is in a real spot. Why did Hashem send him to Pharoh? It
just made things worse for the Bnei Yisroel! Hashem
reminds Moshe who the G-d is around here! This is all apparently
part of Hashem's plan. You see, Hashem wants to
hear Bnei Yisroel's tefilot (prayers). He wants Bnei
Yisroel to cry out for redemption. Now, in the blackest days
of exile, the time is right for the Exodus.
| Moshe heads back
to the mud pits on Hashem's orders and announces "You will
soon be free." But these slaves have had enough of Moshe's declarations.
Next Hashem sends Moshe back to the palace to repeat his
message to Pharoh. Now Moshe's no dummy. He knows Pharoh's not going
to take his word. He'll need a calling card miracle. That's simple
enough. Hashem gave Moshe a bag of tricks in our last Parsha.
He can use the snake trick.
When Moshe and Aharon come before Pharoh, they make their case
for the Jews to leave Mitzrayim for a three-day sacrifice-fest
in the wilderness. Pharoh laughs in their faces and asks them
for a sign to prove their G-d's power.
Aharon throws his staff to the ground and it becomes a snake.
Whoa! Big trick! "Is that all you got?" says Pharoh. At that,
he calls out his own magicians, each armed with a stick of his
own. One by one each magician turns his staff into a snake, then
turns the snake back to a staff. Needless to say, Pharoh has not
been impressed by Aharon's snake trick.
But wait! Hashem has another trick up Aharon's sleeve.
Talk about a miraculous finale, Aharon's snake turns back into
a staff and the staff swallows all the other staffs! Now that's
a miracle even Pharoh can't deny. And he doesn't. He just tells
Moshe that he refuses to let the Bnei Yisroel go free.
frustrated and Pharoh's stubborn. Hashem is gearing up
a plague-a-thon. The first event begins the bloody battle: Aharon
stretches his staff over the Nile River. The next thing Pharoh knows,
the river and all the water in Mitzrayim (even the bottled
water in the palace water cooler) turns to blood. Well, that's no
big deal. Most Egyptians consider blood a delicacy. Of course, now
that all the fish are popping up dead on the Nile and stinking up
the place, this blood is enough to turn an Egyptian's stomach. What
an inconvenience! No water to drink, no water to wash dishes with,
and it's a "blood bath" at the showers!
Meanwhile, the Bnei Yisroel in Goshen are riding the
waves of supply and demand. The water may be red to the Egyptians,
but it's crystal clear for the Jews. The Goshen Bottled Water
Company has never seen so much business! And the Egyptians are
willing to pay any price for a clear cup of water. There's one
more catch to the plague, though: If a Jew hands a cup of clear
water to an Egyptian, that water turns to blood the moment it
Pharoh is taken by surprise. Should he let the Jews go? His
magicians give him the answer. When they turn water to blood themselves,
Pharoh flat-out refuses Moshe's demands.
number two features those slimy frogs. Again, Aharon stretches his
staff over the Nile River and they pop out of the Nile and pop into
the lives of the Egyptians with a vengeance! Frogs are everywhere
- in the oven, on the floor, in the food, in a loaf of bread, in
the water... you can't even start your chariot without hearing 'gribit'
(croak) from the engine! These frogs are no ordinary frogs either:
they croak so loudly that no one can hear anything but frogs day
and night and these are biting amphibians. Needless to say, Moshe
and Aharon soon get a call from Pharoh on the Yetziat Mitzrayim
hotline. Apparently Pharoh is totally freaked out. "Take away the
frogs and tell me where to sign the freedom forms," cries Pharoh
in desperation. Moshe takes Pharoh at his word (it's still early
in the game!) and prays to Hashem to get rid of the frogs.
But once the frogs are gone, Pharoh shakes off the deal. The Bnei
Yisrael will not be allowed to go free.
time around, Hashem tells Moshe not to even warn Pharoh
about what's next on the plague agenda. By the way, aren't you wondering
what's coming up? Well, here they come: With a stretch of Aharon's
stick through the air, the dust of Mitzrayim turns into
a swarm of itchy lice! These tiny ticklers infest the hair and bodies
of all the Egyptians and their animals. And, believe me, these lice
are nothing to laugh about! Once you've got 'em it's hard enough
to get rid of 'em - even without a vengeful G-d hanging over you.
Pharoh may be itching to let the Jews go, but since his magicians
are 2 for 2 duplicating the plagues, he calls them in for a consult.
To Pharoh's dismay the magician's dismal attempts at copying the
plague are demoralizing! Pharoh is faced with a dilemma: does
he give in to Moshe's demands? Hashem makes the call
this time. He hardens Pharoh's heart, making him more stubborn
than ever! Pharoh sits through seven days in 'itchy-dom' until
Hashem ends the plague.
| Moshe appears before
Pharoh with a warning: either Pharoh lets the Bnei Yisroel
skidaddle or wild animals will be the next artillery in Hashem's
battle! Of course, Pharoh stubbornly refuses to let the Jews go
and Moshe heads back to Goshen before the first roar.
stepping out of the house just in time to see a herd of rhinoceros
come stampeding in your direction. Gorillas attacking people on
the street; crowds running in all directions as lions and hyenas
attack. It's a scene of havoc wherever you find yourself in Mitzrayim
- except in Goshen, of course, where the Bnei Yisroel
are off from work on this bright sunny day.
Panicked, Pharoh calls for Moshe and Aharon. He's had enough
of this G-d and His power. Pharoh orders Moshe to get rid of the
animals. The Jews can leave - good riddance - as soon as those
beasts are gone!
Moshe prays for Hashem to take away the beasts. Of
course, as soon as they're gone, Pharoh changes his mind again.
(What a stubborn guy!)
number five comes alive as pestilence causes the animals of Mitzrayim
to die. Every cow, goat, sheep, donkey and camel drops as Pharoh's
plan to keep the Bnei Yisroel enslaved flops!
Meanwhile, out in Goshen, the animals of the Bnei Yisroel
are alive and kicking. Even a bigger miracle occurs when the animals
of a Jew and an Egyptian are mixed in the fields: only the animal
of the Egyptian dies.
By now, Pharoh should be escorting the Jews to the gates of
Mitzrayim and giving them the boot. But Hashem
hardens Pharoh's heart so that he is more stubborn than ever.
Now Pharoh will have to endure more plagues before he can choose
to free the slaves.
next plague is boils. Hashem commands Moshe and Aharon
to each pick up two fistfuls of ash. Moshe then takes all four fistfuls,
and throws these ashes to the sky. The ashes spread all over Mitzrayim,
settling on the skin of every Egyptian man, woman, child and animal.
Imagine having a terrible, terrible sunburn. So terrible that blisters
and bubbles of puss cover the whole body.
Pharoh and the magicians aren't immune from these blisters.
Pharoh is so sick he has to stay in bed. The magicians also become
sick. They are so embarrassed that they never show up in Pharoh's
once the Plague stops, Pharoh forgets the pain of his boils and
refuses to let Bnei Yisroel go free. Moshe warns Pharoh
that the next plague will be as terrifying as all the other makot
(plagues) combined. But, of course, Pharoh is too stubborn to heed
Moshe's warning. The next day, Moshe is instructed to stretch his
hand up to the sky. With this, a hailstorm begins--
hail storm? Did I say a hail storm? Hail is putting it too simply.
Huge blocks of ice covered with fire fall to the ground killing
people, crushing houses, starting fires and wreaking terrible
havoc all through Mitzrayim.
Pharoh has had it by now. In terror he calls Moshe and Aharon
back to the palace. He admits he's sinned. He calls Hashem
righteous and the Egyptians and he - wicked. He even promises
that the Bnei Yisroel are free to leave. But when the
hail storm stops, does Pharoh keep his word? Nooo!!!
Tune in next week when Hashem reaches the finish line
at the Plague-a-thon, in our next exciting episode of:
the Midrash Mavin on Vaera
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