Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Bo

Even Steven

By Rabbi Raymond Beyda

"For I have hardened his heart in the heart of his servants." (Shemot 10, 1.)

Many commentators ask, "How is it that Hashem hardened the heart of Pharaoh and took away his free choice so that he would not want to release the Jews from his land even after being stricken with plagues?"

There was once a Jew who lived in an anti-Semitic country. He had a dispute with the Gentile resident of that nation and the case was to come before the local court. The man sent a beautiful gift, secretly to the non-Jewish judge. Upon receipt, the judge asked him "How is it that you are sending me a bribe? Doesn't it say in your holy Torah that it is forbidden to bribe the judge, because his heart and mind will be prejudiced in favor of the one who sent the gift? Don't your rabbis teach that bribes blind judges and prevent a just judgment from taking place?"

The Jew replied calmly. "If two Jews came before you in dispute I know that your mind in regard to them would be fair and just. You would see them as equals. You would not have any prejudices and because of that, you might be able to reach a true and fair judgment. Therefore, if one would give you a bribe, he is ruining the possibility of you doing your job properly and according to the truth because he would tilt the scales of judgment in his favor. This is not the case in my trial, because in my dispute one of the claimants is of your people, and I am a simple Jew. I only sent you the bribe so that you would lean towards me and make it even again in your eyes and give you the chance to rule in this case in a fair and just manner."

Now, perhaps we can understand hardening of Pharaoh's heart. The Pharaoh did not wish to release the Jews from bondage. When Hashem struck him heavily with plagues, there was a strong possibility that he would give in and release the Jews even though that was not his true desire. In other words, the plagues would have removed his free will from him. Therefore Hashem, hardened his heart to balance his true wish to afflict the Jews against the power of the plagues. With the power of the plagues on one side and the hardening of his heart on the other the balance scale was now even. This gave Pharaoh a chance to make his choice as to what he wished to do. The true will of Hashem, is that everyone should have free choice in order to earn reward for good deeds and punishment for bad. In the end, the power of the 10th plague made Pharaoh get up in the middle of the night -seek Moshe and Aharon and of his own free will chase the Jews out of his land.

Shabbat Shalom


Text Copyright 2008 by Rabbi Raymond Beyda and Torah.org.


 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

One for the Birds
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5756

Free Time
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

Lesson of the Ravens
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5763

ArtScroll

Communication Brings Unity
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

Missed Opportunities
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

Saved From a Rainy Day
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Shame Of Cham
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

Miracles Can Happen Slowly
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

The Choosing People
Rabbi Label Lam - 5761

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Don't Shout at Me!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5760

Leisure Time
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5766

Positive Speech Builds a Brighter World
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

> Compliments -- In The Presence And Outside The Presence Of A Person
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5774

Taking a Hint
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5766

When the Illegitimate Becomes Legitimate
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5758

Why We Keep Sinning
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774



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