Today is the first of Nisan, reminding us that Passover is just two weeks away. There has been talk online that, on Passover night, many will refer to COVID-19 as a plague equivalent to the ten disasters God inflicted on Egypt, including swarms of locusts, hordes of frogs, a scourge of boils, pestilence of livestock, and the death of firstborn sons. Might I suggest we not do that.
The novel coronavirus is an epidemic disease, and now, a pandemic because it has spread around the world. And, like a plague, it is causing widespread affliction, as well as pain, loss, and distress. So, shall we liken it to the biblical plagues of our ancestors? I should say not.More
But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that I may multiply My signs and marvels in the land of Egypt (Exodus 7:3). This is one of ten references in this portion to either God hardening Pharaoh’s heart or Pharaoh himself hardening his heart. The rabbis taught that God was destined to harden Pharaoh’s heart to punish […]
Moses encounters God in a burning bush. God gives him the task to set the Israelites free. Moses is reluctant and asks God, “When I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is His Name?’ what shall I say to […]
Jacob called his children, ‘Assemble yourselves and hear, O children of Jacob, and listen to Israel, your father’ (Genesis 49:2). It is interesting that the children of Jacob are asked to gather and listen. They come together in order to listen to Israel and not Jacob. Why are both names used for our patriarch in […]
Why does Jacob hold on so tenaciously to the angel (Genesis 32:27)? Where once he held his brother’s heel for a free ride from the womb to the world, now he grasps the angel and demands a blessing. One lesson we draw from this is not to rely on miracles. The Talmud tells us, “One […]