Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Bo

A Jolt of -Oy Gevalt!

And HASHEM hardened the heart of Pharaoh and he did not send out the Children of Israel. (Shemos 10:20)

At first, “And Pharaoh’s heart hardened” (Shemos 8:15) and in the end “And HASHEM hardened the heart of Pharaoh”. Why is that so? That is according to what Reish Lakish says, “He who comes to contaminate is opened up for.”… Once a person desires badness he is tripped up from heaven. (Pesikta Zuta)

Why did HASHEM harden Pharaoh’s heart? Doesn’t that interfere with his free will? Now we know why HASHEM did so. Pharaoh hardened his own heart and therefore HASHEM hardened it for him. By giving up control and abusing his free will he was made to lose control and he was denied free will. It was really all a testimony to Pharaoh’s terminal stubbornness. He was perhaps the biggest denier of HASHEM that ever walked the good earth.

The Kotzker Rebbe ztl. sardonically said that the “free thinkers” of these days believe that they are authentic scoffers, but their actions don’t always support their claim. They are really deceiving themselves and others. Whenever they are visited by the slightest of tragedies or illness they immediately run to pray and petition G-d. Pharaoh, on the other hand, was a real scoffer. Nine plagues had already landed on the heads of Egypt and each with a clear warning with precise detail as to how it would unfold being fulfilled. Still Pharaoh not only refused to yield but he resisted in believing. The Torah tells us, “And it was at midnight and HASHEM smote every first born in the Land of Egypt from the first born of Pharaoh that sits on the throne until the first born of the captive who was in the dungeon and all the first born animals. And Pharaoh got up that night (from his bed: Rashi) and all his servants and all of Egypt and there was a great outcry throughout all of the Land of Egypt and there was no house in which there was not there a death. He called to Moshe and Aaron at night and said, “Rise up, go out from among my people, even you, even the Children of Israel; Go and serve HASHEM as you have spoken!””(Shemos 12:29-31) The Kotzker takes note that Pharaoh himself was a first born and he had heard directly all of Moshe’s warnings for the first nine plagues and amazingly the verse testifies “and Pharaoh got up…” that means that he went to sleep as if nothing unusual would be happening that night. This demonstrates that he was a real scoffer. He saw the truth staring him in the face and yet he remained unaffected.

On the flip side the sages tell us, “One who comes to purify gets help!” As opposed to the one who seeks impurity who finds an open door, the one who truly desires holiness gets wind in his sails. Avraham Avinu after nine increasingly difficult tests is faced with the ultimate. He is asked to bring his son Yitzchok as a burnt offering. It was Yitzchok he waited for till one hundred years of age and in whom he had sewn wisdom for thirty-seven years. There too the Torah tells us, “And Avraham arose in the morning…” (Breishis 22:3) That implies also that he went to sleep the night before the fateful journey. That too is amazing! With increasing clarity and intensity he learned over the course of a lifetime to look truth in the face and embrace it. Therefore he accepted his destiny with perfect calm.

Oddly, from the outside, the Baal Bitachon- the Master of Trusting G-d, and the bum can look hauntingly similar. Both are sleeping peacefully. What’s the real difference? One goes to sleep comforted by truth while the other is sedated, in a fantasy- a bubble, at risk of being awakened by a jolt of -oy gevalt!


DvarTorah, Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Label Lam and Torah.org.


 

ARTICLES ON BESHALACH AND TU BESHVAT:

View Complete List

A Request
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5768

A Thing or Tu 'bout Shvat
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

Hashem Tests Hearts
Shlomo Katz - 5769

Looking for a Chavrusah?

As the Season Turns
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

The Illusion of Independence
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5759

Following Orders
Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig - 5762

> G-d Rules Even In A Period In Which We Fail To See It
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

Closer to the Source
Rabbi Label Lam - 5760

Can A Person Sleep For Seventy Years?
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

A Stiff-Necked People
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5761

Words of Remembrance
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758

A Time to Sing
Shlomo Katz - 5774

ArtScroll

Roots
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5766

Split-Sea Soup
Rabbi Label Lam - 5762

Look Not at the Vessel...
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5759

Lessons in Appreciation
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5763



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information