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3/4 February: Shabbat Bo

rabbipaulsmlShabbat comes in 4.38 pm: goes out 5.44 pm

Seven plagues have not yet convinced Pharaoh to release the Israelite slaves.  Moses appears before the Egyptian ruler again, and threatens Pharaoh with the plague of locusts. Pharaoh agrees to free the men, but not the women or children.

When Moses first approaches Pharaoh at the beginning of the parsha, Moses relates to Pharaoh God’s words. “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me?” (Ex. 10:3)

Many commentators are astonished by Pharaoh’s ability to endure plague after plague.  They explain that it is his arrogance that prevents him from succumbing.

Rabbi Zelig Pliskin in his book “Growth Through Torah”  elaborates on this point:

“A person with humility will ask forgiveness when he has wronged someone, even if he feels that the other person is more to blame than himself.  The arrogant person will not ask forgiveness even when he knows that he is really at fault.

A person with humility will reach out to others when he needs help.  The arrogant person will feel that it is beneath his dignity to show that he has any weaknesses and will suffer rather than do what he considers belittling to himself.”  So it was with Pharaoh.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Paul Arberman

February 2, 2017