Parashat Vaera

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Parshas Vaera is the second parsha in the Book of Shemos and the 2nd week of Shovavim. It contains 121 pesukim. For the Haftora, Yechezkels prophecy to Egypt is read.


[edit] Mission of Moshe and Aaron

Hashem resend Moshe to the Jews, this time with the 'four expressions of redemption', telling them they will leave Egypt and inherit Eretz Yisroel. The Jews do not listen to Moshe.

[edit] Rebuke

Hashem speaks to Moshe in judgment[1] and rebukes him[2] as a result of his hard accusation that so far the situation had only deteriorated for the Jews.[1] He tells Moshe that He is Hashem who is faithful to recompense all those who walk before Him and that is for nothing that He sent him to Pharaoh. Rather it is to fulfill His words, which He spoke to the Avos.[1]

This prophecy like the other times, took place outside the city that was filled with idolatry.[3] Hashem then revealed to Moshe that both the attribute of Judgment and the attribute of Mercy were in truth really one, although this is impossible to comprehend as it falls under 'the ways of Hashem that are incomprehensible'.[4] He also told him that despite the bulk of the nation influenced by Dassan and Aviram had failed to stand strong throughout the hard test of faith during the final intensifying of labor, He would redeem them in merit of the Avos and those righteous Jews that did remain faithful during this ordeal.[5]

[edit] Shem Havaya

This time Hashem reveals Himself with the 'Shem Havaya', a name referencing action, indicating that He plans on fulfilling His promises. He points out the Avos;[6] Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaackov, were only addressed and promises promises[6] with the name 'Kel Shaky' and the name 'YKVK' He did not make known to them.

Hashem also established covenants with all three of the Avos using the name Kel Shaky promising to give them the Land of Canaan.[7] Yet to date none of these vows had been fulfilled.[7]

  • To Avraham Hashem appeared to him with the name Kel Shaky at the time he was commanded to do a Bris Mila[8] and was the Land of Canaan as an ever lasting inheritance for him them and his descendants[9][7]
  • Yitzchak was not openly approached with the name Kel Shaky but Hashem told him that he wll establish the same oath that he swore to Avraham[10] and he would give his descendants all those lands.[11] This was reffering to the oath made to Avraham with the name 'Kel Shaky'.[7]
  • When Yackov returned from Padan Aram, Hashem blessed him with the name 'Kel Shaky'[12] and told him that the land that He gave to Avraham and Yitzchak, He will now give to him and his descendants.[13][7]

Not only were the Avos not given the land, they were treated like foreigners. Avraham could not find a grave to bury Sarah until he had to had to purchase the Meorat Hamachpela at a very high price, Yitzchck encountered strife from the Plishtim with each well he dug and Yackov had to purchase the lot of land where he set up camp.[14] Yet despite this the Avos did not doubt Him and did not ask Him about His Name or ask question on His actions.[14] Moshe on the other hand did ask Hashem about His name[15] by the burning bush and questioned his action by asking why He harmed the Jews[16].[14] Hashem was telling Moshe that he mourns over the loss of the Avos who were so faithful and now had passed on and can no longer be found.[14]

The name YKVK represents Hashem's truthfulness of keeping His words and promises.[6] Since Hashem did not fulfill the promises He made to the Avos, Although the Avos clearly knew the 'Shem Havaya'[17] they did not experience a full manifestation of the attributes of the name YKVK in actuality during their lifetime.[6] The Name YKVK is also used whenever Hashem fulfills his words even for retribution and how much more so should be used here where He is to fulfill his words for the good[14]

[edit] Hearing the Cries

During the Bris Bein HaBisarim Hashem established the covenant[18] with Avraham, part of it being that the Jews would be slaves but in the end He will judge the nation that enslaved them[19] Just like Hashem initially established this covenant that led the Jews into slavery, it is now an obligation on Him to fulfil the second part of the covenant and punish the nation that had afflicted the Jews. Therefore Hashem heard the cries of the Jews whom the Egyptians are holding in bondage and remembered His covenant.[18]

[edit] Four Expressions of Redemption

Therefore, according to that oath[20] Moshe is to say to the Jews that Hashem is the Lord and is faithful to His promise.[20] He will take them out (וְהֽוֹצֵאתִ֣י) from under the toil[20] of the burdens of the Egyptians as he promised Avraham that afterwards they will go forth with great possessions.[20] He will save them (וְהִצַּלְתִּ֥י) from their labor, and will redeem them (וְגָֽאַלְתִּ֤י) with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. Hashem will take them (וְלָֽקַחְתִּ֨י) for Himself as a people and will be a G-d to them. They will know that Hashem is the Lord their G-d, who brought them out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. He will bring them to Eretz Yisroel, concerning which Hashem raised His hand making an oath on His throne,[21] which symbolizes His kingship.[22] to give it to Avraham, Yitzchak and Yackov. He will give it to the Jews as a heritage, for He is the Lord.'

Hashem used 4 terms of redemption

  1. וְהֽוֹצֵאתִ֣י V'Hotzasi - "I will take you out"
  2. וְהִצַּלְתִּ֥י V'Hitzalti - "I shall save you"
  3. וְגָֽאַלְתִּ֤י V'Galti - "I shall redeem you"
  4. וְלָֽקַחְתִּ֨י V'Lakachti - "I shall take you"

Although all these four elements took place in the redemption of Egypt, each one also was to manifest at the end of the four exiles, the last one V'Lakachti to manifest at the end of 'Galus Edom' the hardest of the four.[23]

[edit] Rejected by the Jews

Moshe repeats his prophecy to the Jews but they fail to be comforted[14] due to their shortness of breath due to their stress[14] and impatience of spirit caused by the suffering of their cruel bondage.

Additionally they themselves knew that they were not worth of the redemption through their actions. This was a form of 'false humility' since they should have had faith in Hashem that he would help them in to His great kindness, even though they were not deserving. This initial mistaken mind-frame placed them in constricted consciousness which led them to the far more severe flaw of rejecting Moshe.[24]

[edit] Commandment to Confront Pharaoh

Hashem send Moshe to once again confront Pharaoh the king of Egypt, requesting that he send the Jews out of his land. Moshe express his doubts of Pharaoh accepting his words when even the Jews who had everything to gain from it, did not and Kal Vachomer[25] that Pharaoh who has everything to lose, would not. This was especially considering that he had uncircumsized sealed[25] lips as a result of his burnt lips causing him a speech impediment. This wound was created during the test given to 3 year old Moshe after snatching Pharaoh's crown

Because Moshe said that he had sealed lips[26] Hashem adds Aharon to the mission comanding both of them concerning the Jews and concerning Pharaoh king of Egypt, to let the Jews out of Egypt. Hashem made Aharon Moshe's elucidator, interpreter[26] and explainer, to compensate for Moshe's speech defect. He then instructed them to lead the Jews gently and to tolerate them.[26] At the same time Moshe is warned to speak to Pharaoh with respect[26] despite his wickedness since he held a position of royalty.[26] This commandment to confront Pharaoh is repeated a second time after the listing of Moshe and Aharon's genealogy.[26]

[edit] Lineage of Moshe & Aharon

A lineage list is given for the Tribes of Reuvain and Shimon, leading up to Levi in order to list the genealogy of Moshe and Aharon.[27] Additionally Reuvain, Shimon and Levy were the three sons belittled by Yackov during the 'blessing of the Tribes', their genealogy is listed twice to reiterate that they were also important.[27] This also confirms the continuation of Reuvain as the Bichor for Yichus, withstanding the redeemer Moshe coming from Levi.[28] These were the Moshe and Aharon who spoke to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to let the Jews out of Egypt. They were commanded by Hashem and fulfilled the command, remained in their mission and in their righteousness from beginning to end.[29]

The following are the head of Houses for the Tribes of Reuvain. Shimon and Levi

[edit] Genealogy of Tribe of Reuvain

The sons of Reuvain the firstborn of Yackov (Yisroel) were Chanoch, Pallu, Chezron, and Carmi, each establishing a family.

[edit] Genealogy of Tribe of Shimon

The sons of Shimon were Yemuel, Yamin, Ohad, Yachin, Zohar, and Shaul the son of his wife Dina, who is referred to as a Canaanite woman due to her forced relationship with the Canaanite Shechem.

[edit] Genealogy of Tribe of Levi

  • Levi (Lived 137 Years) had three sons Gershon, Kohas, Merari and a daughter Yocheved.
    • The sons of Gershon were Libni and Shimei.
    • The sons of Kohas (Lived 133 Years) were Amram, Yitzhar, Chevron and Uzziel.
      • Amram (Lived 137 Years) married his aunt Yocheved, the sister of his father Kehus and daughter of his grandfather Levi,[30] together having three children; Miriam, Aharon and Moshe.
        • Aharon married Elisheva, the daughter of Aminadav and sister of Nachshon together they had; Nadav and Avihu, Elazar and Ithamar.
          • Elazar married from the daughters of Putiel (decedent of both Yosef and Yisro)[31] and had a son named Pinchas.
      • The sons of Yitzhar were Korach, Nepheg and Zichri.
        • The sons of Korach were Assir, Elkanah and Aviasaph
      • The sons of Uzziel were Mishael, Elzaphan and Sisri.
    • The sons of Merari were Machli and Mushi.

Years of Levi, Kohas and Amram

Levi lived to hundred thirty and seven years, Kohas lived to a hundred thirty three years and Amram lived to hundred and thirty seven years. Out of all the individuals mentioned in the genealogy only the lifetime of the above three are written. This information is mentioned to help calculate the historical timeline of the Egyptian exile that thel 400 years as mentioned in the Torah started from the birth of Yitzchak and was not all spent in Egypt.[32] If all the years of the 3 are added up (Kehus 133 + Amram 137 + Moshe 80 until redemption) it equals only 350. It must also be taken into account that Kehus was already alive when they entered Egypt and also that they all had many overlapping years reducing the number far below 400. Levy's years are mentioned as it shows when the actual servitude began since as long as one of the Tribes was still alive the servitude did not start, Levi having been the last surviving brother.[33]

Sister of Nachshon From that fact that Nachshon is mentioned, we learn that one should investigate the brothers of his future wife.[34]


Putiel was a reference used for both Yisro who fattened calves for idolatrous sacrifices (Pitem / פִּטֵּם) and Yosef who defied and fought his evil inclination during the test of Potiphar’s wife (Pitpet / פִּטְפֵּט).[31] The wife of Elazar descended on one side from Yosef and the other parent came from Yisro.

[edit] Review of Confrontation Comandment

In the initial command Hashem instructed Moshe to tell Pharaoh, that he let the Jews out of Egypt. When Moshe complained about his speech defect, Aharon was appointed to do the actual talking to Pharaoh. Moshe will speak once each message, exactly as he heard it from Hashem's mouth and then Aharon will interpret it and explain it in Pharaoh’s ears.[35]

Hashem inform Moshe that He will harden Pharaoh's heart, so He could increase His signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. He will then take out the Jews which are his legions and people out of Egypt with great judgments. Then the Egyptians shall know that Hashem is the Lord when He stretch forth His real hand[36] over Egypt, and take the Jews out of their midst. At the time of this mission Moshe was eighty years old, and Aharon was eighty three years.

Hashem then told them that when Pharaoh requests a miracle sign as proof that the one who sent them has power,[37] Moshe should tell Aharon to throw his staff on the floor and it will transform into a serpent.

[edit] Strengthening of Pharaoh's Heart

Sometimes a person wishes to do something but is forced to give in at the end due to the pressure, suffering and torture placed upon him, despite the fact that in his heart he wishes he could continue. Pharaoh was given the extra strength to withstand all the pressure and suffering so he could continue to carry out the wickedness his heart desired, where all others would have caved in. This allowed Hashem to continue the plagues on the Egyptians and show his greatness to the Jews, in line with His custom of bringing retribution on the nations so that Yisroel should hear and fear.[38] During the first 5 plagues, Pharaoh’s heart remained steadfast, without the strengthening of Hashem.[38]

[edit] Second Confrontation With Pharaoh

Moshe and Aharon came to Pharaoh and sure enough he requested a miraculous sign to prove their authenticity. Aharon cast his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. Then, Pharaoh summoned the wise men, magicians, and necromancers of Egypt. They were also able to transform their staffs into serpents with their magic. Aharon's staff which had already reverted back to its initial state,[39] went ahead and swallowed all their staffs. Despite this, Pharaoh hardened his heart and did not listen to them, just as Hashem had said.

[edit] Sign of the Snake Stick

In the lower levels of existence the 'Other Side' was created parallel and lateral to the 'Side of Holiness' to give people free choice. Therefore through the use of the impure names the wicked are able to mimic the miracles of the righteous, similar to an ape mimicking a human. However in the higher realms, the 'Side of Holiness' is far more powerful and therefore Aharon' rod was able to swallow the rods of the sorcerers.[40]

[edit] The Plagues

[edit] Time Frame

One week of plague time following three weeks of warning by Moshe was the general schedule throughout the ten plagues.

[edit] Aharon's role

The first three plagues were initiated out by Ahron since Moshe was not able to afflict Nile with blood or frogs out of gratitude of it protecting him when his mother placed him there as an infant.[41] Similarly he was unable to smite the ground with lice out of gratitude of it covering up the body of the Egyptian officer he had killed.

[edit] Refusal to Give In

Ironically Pharaoh who did everything he could to oppose the Divine will was in essence making all the necessary moves needed to openly sanctify Hashem's name on a massive level through the continuous plagues brought about by his refusal to give in. This is common for the wicked to believe they are doing the opposite of Hashem's wishes, yet their very rebellious actions bring about the end goal desired by Hashem.[42]

[edit] Plague of Blood

[edit] Warning

Hashem tells Moshe to go to Pharaoh in the early morning as he stands by the Nile river, taking the staff the was previously turned to a serpent in his hand. Pharaoh had declared himself a god to his citizens, proof being that he never had to visit the restroom. Early each morning he would sneak out to the banks of the Nile to relieve himself.[43]

Moshe tells Pharaoh to let the Jews go and serve Hashem in the desert. Moshe also rebukes Pharaoh for not agreeing to do so until this point and with the same words vaguely alluding that; he will not end up agreeing until the Plague of the First Born.[44] Moshe then threatened that he will smite the Nile with his staff and all its water will turn to blood, so Pharaoh will recognize that Hashem is the Lord. As a result of this the fish in the Nile will die, it will become putrid and the Egyptians will become weary trying to a way to make the waters fit to drink.[45] Since there is no rainfall in Egypt and the Nile is what waters the land, the Egyptians worshiped the Nile. Hashem therefore first smote their deity and afterwards He smote them.[46]

[edit] Initiation

Upon Hashem's instruction, Moshe commands Aharon to take the staff and stretch his hand over the waters of Egypt. Moshe was unable to smite the Nile himself out of gratitude of it protected him when he was placed in it as an infant.[41] Aharon raised the staff and struck the water of the Nile before the eyes of Pharaoh and his servants, turning all the water in the Nile to blood. Additionally all the rivers, canals (man-made pools and ditches, extending from the riverbank used to irrigate the fields),[41] ponds of Egypt turned to blood as well as all other bodies of water including those in bathhouses and personal bathtubs.[41] Even the water in wooden and stone vessels turned to blood.[41] This caused the fish to die making the Nile became putrid; the Egyptians could not drink water and there was blood throughout the entire land of Egypt. They attempted to dig all around the surroundings of the Nile but it did not yield them water.

[edit] Replication by Necromancers

Pharaoh's necromancers also turned water into blood with their secret rites involving incantation which they uttered silently to bring about acts of demons.[47] Upon seeing this Pharaoh concluded that Aharon's act was just a product of sorcery.[47] He mocked Moshe for bringing simple magic into Egypt, the capital of occult, comparing him to a man that brings straw into barn thinking he has some innovation in his hand.[47] Pharaoh therefore hardened his heart, turned and went home, paying no attention to the blood nor the sign of the staff that had turned into a serpent.[48]

[edit] End of Blood

Seven full days passed after Hashem had smitten the Nile before the blood reverted to its original state of water. One week of plague time following three weeks of warning by Moshe was the general schedule throughout the ten plagues.[49]

[edit] Plague of Frogs

Frog emerges up immediately after Moshe raises hand, unlike the locust that took over 12 hours to come.[50]

[edit] Plague of Lice

[edit] Plague of Wild Animals

Unlike the plague of locust where the Egyptians tried to exploit the situation, catching and preserving locust, here they did not do so out of great fear from the vicious animals.[51]

[edit] Plague of Pestilence

[edit] Plague of Boils

[edit] Plague of Hail

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b c Rashi Shemos 6:2
  2. ^ Likutay Halachos CM Prikah vteniah 4:14
  3. ^ Baal Haturim
  4. ^ Likutay HalachosYD Ribbis 5:31
  5. ^ Likutay Halachos CM Prikah vteniah 4:14
  6. ^ a b c d Rashi Shemos 6:3
  7. ^ a b c d e Rashi Shemos 6:4
  8. ^ Berahsis 17:1
  9. ^ Berahsis 17:1
  10. ^ Berahsis 26:3
  11. ^ Berahsis 26:4
  12. ^ Berahsis 35:11
  13. ^ Berahsis 35:12
  14. ^ a b c d e f g Rashi Shemos 6:9
  15. ^ Shemos 3:13
  16. ^ Shemos 5:22
  17. ^ Shover Zadim Parshas Vaera
  18. ^ a b Rashi Shemos 6:5
  19. ^ Berashis 15:14
  20. ^ a b c d Rashi Shemos 6:6
  21. ^ Rashi Shemos 6:8
  22. ^ Ikar Sefsi Chachamim
  23. ^ Baal Haturim Shemos 6:6
  24. ^ Likutay Halachos AC Tefilin 6:31
  25. ^ a b Rashi Shemos 6:12
  26. ^ a b c d e f Rashi Shemos 6:13
  27. ^ a b Rashi Shemos 6:14
  28. ^ Ikar Sefsi Chachamim in name of Ramban
  29. ^ Rashi Shemos 6:27
  30. ^ Rashi Shemos 6:20
  31. ^ a b Rashi Shemos 6:25
  32. ^ Rashi Shemos 6:18
  33. ^ Rashi Shemos 6:16
  34. ^ Rashi Shemos 6:23
  35. ^ Rashi Shemos 7:2
  36. ^ Rashi Shemos 7:5
  37. ^ Rashi Shemos 7:9
  38. ^ a b Rashi Shemos 7:3
  39. ^ Rashi Shemos 7:12
  40. ^ Likutay Halachos AC Birchos Hashachar 5:76
  41. ^ a b c d e Rashi Shemos 7:19
  42. ^ Likutay Halachos YD Sionay Behama vChaya 4:40-41
  43. ^ Rashi Shemos 7:15
  44. ^ Rashi Shemos 7:16
  45. ^ Rashi Shemos 7:18
  46. ^ Rashi Shemos 7:17
  47. ^ a b c Rashi Shemos 7:22
  48. ^ Rashi Shemos 7:23
  49. ^ Rashi Shemos 7:25
  50. ^ Avosanue footnote page 277
  51. ^ Ikar Sefsi Chachamim 10:20

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