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Friday, Shevat 5, 5780 / January 31, 2020


In this week’s Parsha, Bo, the Torah relates about the last three plagues which G-d brought upon the Egyptians; locust, darkness and the death of the first-born. Then we read about the Exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt.


Before the last plague, G-d told Moshe, “One more plague will I bring on Pharaoh and Egypt; afterwards he will drive you out altogether. Please speak to the people and let every man ask from his neighbor and every woman from her neighbor, jewels of silver and jewels of gold. And G-d gave the people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians and they let them have what they asked.”


Q.  Every plague caused the Egyptians tremendous loss; loss of crops and cattle or loss of lives. What was the purpose of the plague of darkness, which didn’t cause the Egyptians any real harm?


A.  Our sages say that the plague of darkness had a two-fold purpose. 1) There were many Jews who, after all these years in Egypt, became accustomed to the Egyptian way of life and didn’t want to leave. They died and were buried during the first three days of the plague of darkness. G-d didn’t want the Egyptians to view the plight of these Jews. 2) During the other days of darkness, Jews, not being affected by the darkness, were able to see where the Egyptians kept their valuables. This was G-d’s plan so that later when they asked the Egyptians to give them the jewelery, they couldn’t tell them we don’t have any, because the Jews knew exactly where they were.    


Q.  How many Jews left Egypt at the time of the Exodus?


A.About 600,000 men over the age of twenty, plus women and children. Probably a total of a few million people.


Q.Why did G-d insist that they ask from the Egyptians to give them silver, gold and clothing?


A.  When G-d told Abraham, four hundred years earlier, that his children will one day be enslaved, he also promised him that in the end they will come out with great wealth. G-d told Moshe, “I know that they are happy to forgo on the wealth and leave sooner, but please tell them to ask for the gold and silver for MY sake, so that My promise to Abraham will be fulfilled.”


Q.  How did the Egyptians amass such great wealth?


A.  It was thanks to Joseph whom Pharaoh put in charge of the enormous project of gathering and storing food during the seven prosperous years for the seven famine years. This brought Egypt enormous wealth. Also, the many years of Jewish slave labor for the Egyptians, brought them more wealth. It was this wealth, which was owed to them that G-d told them to take.



Montreal candle lighting time: 4:41 / Shabbat ends: 5:47