Vol 21.05 - Va'eira 2 Spanish French Audio Video
"If not for the frogs how would they have retribution from the Egyptians" (Sh. Rab. 10:1); The levels among the nations: Bilaam, Pharoah and Sanecheriv" (5742)
1. On the verse:
“The L-rd said to Moses, "Come to Pharaoh and say to him, 'So said the L-rd, "Send out My people so they may worship Me. But if you refuse to send [them], behold, I will smite all your borders with frogs”.
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל משֶׁה בֹּא אֶל פַּרְעֹה וְאָמַרְתָּ אֵלָיו כֹּה אָמַר יְהֹוָה שַׁלַּח אֶת עַמִּי וְיַעַבְדֻנִי:
וְאִם מָאֵן אַתָּה לְשַׁלֵּחַ הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי נֹגֵף אֶת כָּל גְּבוּלְךָ בַּצְפַרְדְּעִים:
The Midrash states:
“This is what is meant by the verse ‘And the loftiness of the earth is in everything’”.
And the Midrash cites the view of R’ Acha B”R Chanina who says:
“Even the things that you see in them, that they are superfluous, such as snakes and scorpions, were included in His creation of the world. G-d said to the Prophets: ‘What are you thinking, if you do not follow in My mission, that I have no messenger? (It states:) ‘And the loftiness of the earth is in everything’. I can perform My mission, even through a snake, even through a scorpion, and even through a frog. You should know that this is so. For if not for the wasp, how was the Almighty able to exact retribution from the Amorites, and if not for the frog how was He able to exact retribution from the Egyptians? This is what is written: ‘behold, I will smite all your borders with frogs’ etc.”.
One must understand:
How can it say: “and if not for the frog how was He able to exact retribution from the Egyptians”? Frogs were just one of the Ten Plagues?
One can understand the wasp, which occurred at the time of the Amorites (Canaanites). For it was the first activity to drive (פארטרייבן) the Amorites out, and an aspect which exacted from them an extremely powerful retribution. As the Sages state that: “The wasps did not cross the Jordan River” but rather “It stuck them in their eyes and injected poison into them, and they died”.
The plague of frogs, however, was not the first plague that was visited on Egypt. The first plague was blood, and that was the harshest and worst (שווערערע און ערגערע) plague for the Egyptians. For the river and its waters were not just depended upon for drinking purposes, but also, the livelihood and life of the entire land of Egypt was dependent on it. And in addition to this, there were another eight plagues with which G-d exacted retribution from the Egyptians. So much so until the last plague, which caused the exodus from Egypt – the plague of the firstborn (מכת בכורות). And later the completeness of the retribution was by the Splitting of the Red Sea where “Not one of them remained [alive]”.
Therefore how can one say that “if not for the frog how was He able to exact retribution from the Egyptians”?
The entire aspect is not understood:
How is it possible to say regarding G-d that “if not for the frog how was He able to exact retribution from the Egyptians”? There are “many messengers to the Omnipresent” and “is anything impossible for G-d?” - to carry out His Will?
2. Before this aforementioned statement, the Midrash cites that:
“Our Rabbi’s say: What is meant by ‘And the loftiness of the earth is in everything’? Even the things that you see in them, that they are superfluous, such as flies, fleas, and gnats, were included in His creation of the world”.
The simple difference that we learn, between the view of the Rabbis and R’ Acha and the two details in the words of R’ Acha itself “Even the things . . superfluous . .I can perform My mission“ is:
“Included in His creation of the world“ means that not only were they created by G-d, and not on their own, but rather that their creation is a benefit to man. And in this, the Rabbi’s state that even things such as flies, fleas, and gnats, which appear to be superfluous are, in truth, for a benefit and are in the category of “Nothing that the L-rd created in His world was in vain“. And the Talmud cites aspects of healing that is from the fly and gnat etc.
And on this R’ Acha adds that even things that appear superfluous in this regard (דעם זין), and which are harmful, also possess a benefit to man. For a person is protected through them, many times, from even greater harmful creatures.
Afterwards, R’ Acha adds that there is an even greater benefit from the creation of these harmful things, for through them, G-d carries out His mission, (in order to punish the evildoers).
However, according to this, one must understand:
3. One could say that the explanation in this is:
The aspect of the plagues on pharaoh and Egypt was not just simply to punish them, but rather as the verse states: “the Egyptians shall know that I am the L-rd“. Namely to reveal G-dliness, the level of the Tetragrammaton, G‑d's four-lettered name of Havaye, in Egypt. And this was accomplished through the plagues, breaking Egypt.
And since the Klippah of pharaoh and Egypt, is different than the other Klipot, Therefore G-d’s (main) retribution came through the frogs, as will be discussed.
4. There are three levels, in general, regarding the denial of the nations of the world, of G-d, one lower than the other:
[And the admission that G-d is “G-d of gods” is just that there is a power that is higher and stronger than him (pharaoh). However, his existence is not dependent on the “G-d of gods“’].
5. Of these three levels, even though, outwardly and visibly, the third manner is the worst of all of them, since that person completely denies G-dliness. Nevertheless, there is also a deficiency (גרעון) in the manner of "My river is my own, and I made myself", even with regard to the third manner.
The explanation of this is:
In the first manner, where “They call Him the G-d of gods“ – they understand that G-d is “their vitality and existence” and therefore they do not transgress G-d’s will. They admit that there is an existence of G-dliness.
Even in the third manner - with their denying and opposing the existence of G-d, it shows that that the aspect of G-dliness “bothers them” (אנגערירט). Therefore they seek to oppose G-dliness and to deny G-d’s existence. It comes out that through their denying and opposition itself, one knows that there is an aspect of G-d’s existence, which reaches even their place, the lowest place (למטה מטה).
However, pharaoh, who said "My river is my own, and I made myself", meaning that he claimed that “his entity is from himself” (מציאותו מעצמותו) – did not, at all, acknowledge G-d’s existence. For although the nations “call Him the G-d of gods“, nevertheless this had nothing to do with him (as aforementioned). His entity was an independent thing, in and of itself – “I made myself”. He felt that he was completely an independent entity and object. Therefore, in his being itself, no connection to G-dliness (even including one that is in a negative manner) was manifest (אויטגעדריקט).
6. A similar aspect and glimmer of these three aforementioned manners, regarding the nations of the world’s approach to G-d’s existence – is also found in the created beings of this world:
The maxim states: “Of everything that the L-rd created in His world, not one thing was created in vain“. And as is understood even with simple intellect, every deed of G-d, is for a purpose and design (תכלית ומטרה). And this purpose is seen in everything that He created. And this is certainly so in man below, so much so that the purpose and design of a vessel can be recognized in the form of the vessel that a craftsman makes.
The purpose of all of creation is to reflect that “Everything that G‑d created in His world, He did not create but for His glory“. Namely that it should reveal G-dliness. And this is accomplished by seeing in the aspects of creation, the benefit that each one contributes to creation. This is their purpose and design. It reveals that there is a Craftsman that made them, whose power and will are felt in the thing that was produced.
In reality, however, Creation was in a manner (in order that there be free choice and Avodat HaAdam) where the purpose of creation of every thing, is not visibly recognizable. In this matter, there are many types (סוגים) in creation.
Our Rabbi’s say that: “Even the things that you see in them, that they are superfluous, such as flies and fleas, and gnats (were included in His creation of the world)”. These, seemingly have no benefit. Yet they were “included in His creation of the world as it states: ‘G-d saw all that He had made, and behold it was very good’”. This is not in vain (as the Talmud cites the deeds of the created beings: He created the fly for the wasp etc.) Therefore they are also included in “Everything that G‑d created in His world, He did not create but for His glory“– through them the Creator is revealed.
On this R’ Acha innovates that even the beings, that, (seemingly) do not bring any benefit, but, visibly, are the antithesis of benefit – harmful creatures – “like snakes and scorpions“ – are also “Included in His creation of the world“. They are, therefore, included in “Everything that G‑d created in His world, He did not create but for His glory“. For since, this itself, namely that they have a property that has some relation to this, albeit a negative property, it therefore shows that their existence is not an entity that does not know of the existence of the Creator – one that only knows itself “here it is found, here it is” (כאן נמצא כאן הי). But rather that there is a knowledge concerning a Creator and Maker, who can produce in them this very property - and negate it.
According to this it is also understood why R’ Acha states:
“G-d said to the Prophets: ‘What are you thinking, if you do not follow in My mission, that I have no messenger? (It states:) ‘And the loftiness of the earth is in everything’. I can perform My mission, even through a snake, even through a scorpion“.
With this he emphasizes that even these harmful creatures were created (not only “not in vain” but rather) for “His glory”. G-d is revealed in the world, even though them. Similar to and a glimmer of that which it is revealed through the prophets. For when one sees that one is saved from danger, through a snake and scorpion, and especially when the snake and scorpion comes to punish the evildoers –
it becomes revealed that even an entity that has an opposite property of “benefit”, among G-d’s creations which are “very good” - that even this entity was created by G-d in a manner that even they have good contained in them. For it was made by the Source of good. (therefore)–
this reveals the power of the Maker.
7. Separate from the aforementioned creations, however, is the frog. For one does not see in the frog any benefit. It is not possible to see what benefit man can have from it. It also does not possess any property of a harmful creature.
This is a creation that does not have any property that can evoke that there is a craftsman that made it, or at least the knowledge of a possibility.
And this is the innovation of “even through a frog” and the explanation of “if not for the frog how was He able to exact retribution from the Egyptians”
How was it revealed that even pharaoh and Egypt – an entity that not only does not reveal G-d’s existence, but rather says: "My river is my own, and I made myself" should know that “I am G-d” and moreover say, that their ability to even say that their entity is from themselves - comes because, at that very moment, they have vitality that comes ( is drawn down through many levels ) from the Source of Life, namely from G-d’s Essence (Atzmut), of whom it states: “His Being is of His Essence, and Who is not, Heaven forfend, caused by some other cause preceding Himself“ (similar to what was explained regarding the general creation of matter).
And this is revealed through the plague of the frogs. For among the creatures in this world, it is an entity that does not contain any benefit (even not like that of gnats etc.). And, in general, not even the property of harm (like snakes and scorpions) and as aforementioned: “does not possess any “cause and reason” for its being created.
And through the frogs which went in G-d’s mission,
[And with even more devotion than the other creatures in the other plagues, as the Midrash cites that: from the frogs, Chananiah, Mishael, and Azariah drew a Kal V’chomer argument for themselves and jumped into the fiery furnace].
there was “the retribution from the Egyptians”. The plague of frogs broke even the special Klippah of Egypt “"My river is my own, and I made myself" and the “Egyptians shall know that I am the L-rd" was revealed. It showed that this comes from (the name of) G-d.
MSichas Shabbat Parshat Ve’eira and Shabbat Parshat Beshalach 5741
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