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Tuesday, Tevet 28, 5781 / January 12, 2021


This Shabbat we read the second Parsha in the Book of Exodus, Parshat Va’eira. In the Parsha we read about the lineage of Moshe and Aaron and that, "Aaron took Elisheva, the daughter of Aminadav, the sister of Nachshon, for a wife." 


Q.  Why does the Torah, when telling us that Aaron married the daughter of Aminadav, also tell us that she was the sister of Nachshon?  


A.  According to the Talmudic sage Rava, this teaches us that, "Before one takes a wife, he should check her brothers; for most children take after the mother's brothers."


Parsha: “G-d said to Moshe, say to Aaron, take your rod and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt over the rivers, over their streams and over their pools and over all their ponds of water so that they will become blood."


Q.  Whywere the waters smitten through Aaron, not through Moshe? 


A.  Rabbi Tanchum says, "Because the water of the Nile protected Moshe when his mother placed him in the river, thus, he could not be the one to punish it. This is the reason why the first two plagues, blood and frogs, which came from the water, were brought about by Aaron.


Parsha: we read, "G-d said to Moshe, say to Aaron stretch out your rod and smite the dust of the earth and it shall become lice." 


Q.  Why was the third plague, lice, also brought about by Aaron? 


A.  Years before when Moshe killed the Egyptian, he hid his body in the sand. The plague of lice came from the sand. G-d said, "You should not be the one to punish the sand for it protected you when you killed the Egyptian. Aaron should bring this plague instead."


Parsha: “The years of Levi’s life were one hundred and thirty seven years.” Why does the Torah tell us in this Parsha how long Yaakov’s son, Levi, lived?   


Q.  How many of the 210 years that Jews spent in Egypt were they enslaved by the Egyptians?


A.To tell us that the enslavement of the Jewish people in Egypt was 116 years. The Jewish people lived in Egypt for 210 years, but the enslavement began only after the last of Yaakov's children died.  Yaakov's third son, Levi, lived the longest. As mentioned, he died at the age of 137. He was 43 when he first came to Egypt and lived there 94 years. Thus, if we deduct 94 from 210, we are left with 116. This is why the Torah tells us how long Levi lived.