Vaeyra – Seven Purifications
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Mevarchim Shevat. The
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Rosh Chodesh is Wednesday
VAEYRA - SEVEN PURIFICATIONS
Shalom and Bracha!
This week we read the portion of Vaeyra
and bless the month of Shevat. The portion describes the first
seven of the ten plagues that preceded the exodus from Egypt.
The ten plagues were more than a punishment for the Egyptians
for their evil ways, and more than a demonstration of Hashem’s
might. Each of them cleansed a different aspect of the
negativity of Egypt.
This is also why the plagues were in the number ten;
Hashem created the world with ten utterances and the impurity of
Egypt defiled every aspect of the world. It was therefore
necessary for the purification to be in ten steps. Each of the
plagues teaches us lessons in life. The first plague was blood.
All of the waters in Egypt turned to blood. The Jewish newborn
boys were thrown into the Nile, and the Nile received the first
Although the murder of the Jewish children was only in the
Nile, all of the waters were afflicted. This teaches us that
every deed, good or bad, has far reaching consequences.
If we have brought negativity into a part of the world, we
must bring positivity into many parts of the world to
compensate. Blood also symbolizes warmth and life. Cleansing
ourselves and the world must be imbued with vivacity, warmth and
The second plague was frogs. The Torah stresses that the
frogs went everywhere, including the ovens. Unlike the
destructive plagues, like the wild animals and the locusts, the
frogs simply made noise. Nevertheless, they were ready to go
into ovens, endangering themselves. Sometimes, we feel our
Mitzvah or our contribution to the future of the Jewish people
is not very significant, and therefore not worthy of sacrifice
or excess effort. The frogs teach us the opposite. Whatever we
do for Hashem, and whatever we do to advance His plan, must be
done with total devotion and self sacrifice.
The third plague was lice. During the first three plagues,
Pharaoh summoned magicians to imitate the plagues. They
succeeded with the first two. When it came to the plague of
lice, the magicians couldn’t imitate the plague and admitted
this is the Finger of G-d. Rashi explains that magic can’t work
on things that are so small. This is a lesson for all of us in
our approach to the Torah. Often, we can grasp the general
lesson of a particular Mitzvah. However, when it comes to the
minute details, they make no sense to us. Seemingly, if a
Mezuzah is affixed to my doorpost, constantly reminding me of
Hashem’s presence, what difference does it make if a letter is
missing or damaged? Similarly, I can perceive that a pig is a
filthy animal and shouldn’t be eaten. What difference is there
however what utensils I use? The answer is that this is the
Finger of G-d. Only Hashem, who created all of the world’s
intricacies, can fathom the minor details of creation.
Similarly, only His unfathomable wisdom can grasp the meaning of
the minute details of a Mitzvah. By fulfilling the exact
details, we reach the Finger of G-d. Further, by fulfilling the
unfathomable, we sumbit to Hashem’s infinite will and experience
the finger of G-d.
The fourth plague was the mixture of animals. Hashem
distinguished between the Egyptian and the Israelite homes and
the animals only entered the homes of the Egyptians. This
teaches us that we must distinguish between human behavior and
animalistic behavior. Our homes must be free from any lowly and
animalistic influences from society.
The fifth plague was the pestilence that killed the cattle
of the Egyptians. The cattle were Egyptian deities. We must
learn from this not to idolize animalistic pursuits. Our
physical needs and pleasures are a tool to better our lives and
better serve Hashem, not goals to be idolized.
The sixth plague was boils. Aharon took ash and threw it to
the sky. It spread over the entire Egypt and afflicted all of
the people and animals. Sometimes we feel that our acts are
insignificant. We must realize that one Mitzvah can spread over
the entire world and bring healing and good.
The seventh plague was that of hail. The hailstones were
filled with flickering flames. Hashem prefaced this plague by
saying “Behold, I will send all of my plagues upon your heart.”
Why is this plague referred to as all of the plagues? The Kli
Yakar explains that this miracle was totally beyond
comprehension and Pharaoh could have no doubt that this was the
Hand of Hashem. This would force him to reconsider all of the
previous plagues and recognize the Hand of Hashem, placing all
of the plagues upon his heart at once. This is a powerful
lesson. When we see a miracle, we must reflect on everything we
have experienced and will experience in our lives and realize
this too is the Hand of Hashem.
What made the plague of hail
incomprehensible was the cooperation of fire and ice. This too
has a lesson. In order to bring the Exodus fire and ice had to
cooperate. I order to bring Moshiach’s redemption we must be
ready to go ignore our differences and do everything in our
power to better the world and prepare ourselves, our families
and the entire world for Moshiach!
Before the Jewish people entered the land of Israel, Moshe
began to expound the Torah in depth and lucidity on Rosh Chodesh
Shevat. When Moshiach comes, we are assured he will reveal a new
dimension in the depth of Torah. May we celebrate this Rosh
Chodesh Shevat hearing the new dimensions of Torah from Moshiach
united in the Land of Israel.
Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov,
Dedicated in memory of the
victims of terrorism.
May Hashem protect the Jewish people
and all decent people of the world from harm and evil and may we
immediately see the time when man will not lift a sword against
his fellow man.
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