Vol 31.06 - Va'eira 3                                   Spanish French Audio  Video

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Rashi (7:25): "Seven full days passed":  The innovation according to Rashi's commentary in the plague of blood compared to the other plagues. The explanation of the continuation of Rashi's commentary that the "plague would be in effect for a quarter of a month". (5747)


1. On the verse (Ex. 7:25):

"Seven full days passed after the L-rd had smitten the river".

Rashi explains:

Passed (lit. it was filled- וַיְּמָּלֵא) - The number of seven days that the Nile did not return to its original state (was filled). For the plague would be in effect for a quarter of a month, and for three quarters (of the month), he (Moshe) would exhort and warn them”.

וימלא: מנין שבעת ימים, שלא שב היאור לקדמותו, שהיתה המכה משמשת רביע חדש ושלשה חלקים היה מעיד ומתרה בהם

Rashi's intent is plainly (as the commentaries state):

  1.  To answer why the word, "was filled” (וַיְּמָּלֵא) " – is in the singular. For it should have stated "(the seven days) were filled” (וימלאו שבעת ימים), in the plural.

(And if “Shivat Yamim/the seven days” (שבעת ימים) means a “week of days" (שבוע של ימים)

(as Rashi writes in many places - “a week (שטיינ"א - septaine in Old French) of days") –

Rashi should have stated:

“and it was filled” (ותמלא).

For “the word “shivat” (שבעת) is the name for a week in the feminine gender.")

Therefore, Rashi adds the word, “the number”. In other words, to indicate that it is as if it were written in the verse "and the number of seven days was filled".

  1. To resolve the wording, "and was filled" (וימלא) (regarding a number of days).

For seemingly, this wording does not fit in our case.

“For the word, “filled” (מלא) is not applicable except on something that has a (set) amount.

Like the verse:

  • “and her days were filled to give birth” (וימלאו ימי׳ ללדת׳) and
  • “fill this week” (מלא שבוע זאת), which refers to the seven days of the wedding celebration.

Therefore, Rashi said that even in this matter, the plague . . would be in effect for a quarter of a month, and it had an amount that would be filled”.

However, one still needs to explain Rashi’s elaborate wording:

If his intent is only to inform us that there was a set duration for each and every plague (which is why the word "was filled" is appropriate), it would have been sufficient to say,

"seven days. For each plague lasted one quarter of a month".

Why does Rashi elaborate and add:

  1.  "that the river did not return to its original state". Especially, since this seemingly does not offer any innovation compared to that which is expressed in the verse.

(And even if one were to say that Rashi’s intent is to detail the aspect of the plague that is being spoken about in this verse. He should have concisely written “seven days, of smiting the river”.

(like the wording of the verse here, “after the L-rd had smitten the river").

Why does he elaborate to describe this in a wording of negation (בלשון של שלילה) "the Nile did not return to its original state”)?

  1. “For three quarters (of the month), he (Moshe) would exhort and warn them”. Why is he mentioning “exhorting and warning”, and what is the ramification here?

(where it is speaking in Scripture regarding the time of the smiting of the river)?!


How does Rashi know, in the simple meaning of the verse, that the attesting and warning lasted the precise and limited time of three quarters of the month?

 (Rashi does not cite it in the name of the Midrash – which implies that the necessity for it, is from the plain meaning of the verses themselves)?

One must also understand, the preciseness of Rashi's words,

 "The plague would be in effect for a quarter of a month, and for three quarters (of the month) etc.":

In the Midrashim of the Sages where this aspect is cited, the wording is:

"For twenty-four days he warned then. For seven days the plague lasted etc.” and so forth.

Why did Rashi change from this wording?

2. One could say that the explanation of all this is:

The wording, "was filled" (וימלא) teaches that at this time, the thing has come to its fullness and completion - and before that time, it is still lacking.

The same is in our case:

Before all the seven days passed, there was still an amount of the plague missing, and its effect was not complete. Only after the number of a “week of days”, was its “amount filled".

However, in this matter

(that the end of the plague is only after its entire duration has completed),

the plague of blood was different from the other plagues:

The action of the other plagues (which lasted for a quarter of a month) was in a manner, that each and every day, the effect of the plague was renewed.

(Like the plague of frogs, where during the seven days, on each day they would croak in all the borders of Egypt. As well as, during the plague of lice – they went and swarmed on the person and animal each and every day. So too, with all the other plagues).

Therefore, the wording "was filled" is appropriate. In other words, the "amount" of the effect of this plague "was filled", in the seven days that the plague “endured”. It acted and continued.

(and until its completion, the effect of the plague was not complete (there was no result):

Whereas, with the plague of blood, in the first moment of the plague, "all the water of the river turned into blood . . There was blood throughout all the land of Egypt”.

This is as it expressly states in Scripture:

"Seven full days passed after the L-rd had smitten the river”.

And although during all the seven days after the smiting of the river, new water would enter the river. There was no need for a new action of the plague of blood, in order for this water to also transform into blood. For from the words of the verse, "all the waters in the river" and from the wording "He struck their god”, it is understood that the plague of blood was in the entire river (the Nile river) and in every place where “their god” was found - even outside the borders of Egypt.

One could add, that only a small amount of the new water that entered the source of the river, reached the (part) of the river that was in the land of Egypt, and it was nullified by its minority. Moreover, and in general - the minute amounts were constantly being nullified (קמא קמא בטיל).

Since the act of the plague – “smiting the river" had already been completed in the first moment, it was seemingly, no longer applicable to say that for the duration of seven days, the plague continued to act until "its amount was filled" - in seven days.

(The Midrash states:

"If an Egyptian and Israelite were living in one house and there was a barrel was full of water; the Egyptian would go to fill the jug from it and it would be filled with blood. The Israelite would drink water from the barrel. The Egyptian would say, 'Give me a little water that is in your hand' and he would give him, but it turned into blood”.

(Only when he would purchase it from the Israelite with money, would he be drinking water”).

According to this, one finds that even regarding the plague of blood, the action of the plague continued the entire seven days. For when the water went from the hand of the Yisroel to the hand of the Egyptian – it turned to blood.

However, there is no mention of this miracle, in Rashi’s comment. The reason is because there is no hint of this miracle in the simple meaning of the verse. On the contrary, Scripture explicitly states,

"All the Egyptians dug around the river for water to drink, for they could not drink from the waters of the river",

which means (according to Pshat) that the water from these excavations was worthy of drinking and that they drank them.

 (For the plague was only in the river water, and not in the water that they dug "around the river”)

Thus, those waters did not become blood).

Therefore, Rashi explains:

"the river did not return to its former state".

In other words, even this plague ("the plague would be in effect" -) also lasted for all seven days.

However, it was not by a positive action, but rather in a negative manner - "the river did not return to its former state".

The explanation of this is:

  1. It expressly states in Scripture, as aforementioned, that “the smiting of the river” was before the “seven days”. If so, the act of the plague was completed at that time.
  2. On the other hand, we do not find that after the end of the plague of blood, that there was an action to return the blood to water. Plainly, "the river returned to its former state" -automatically.

Therefore, we find that the plague "lasted” all seven days

(where the river did not return to its former state).

Therefore, even for this plague, the wording "(the number of) seven days was filled", fits.

For the amount of the plague "was filled”.

3. Nevertheless, Rashi is not satisfied with this, because the continuation of the verses here:

are still not yet entirely resolved.

The wording somewhat implies, that the verse,

“Seven full days (were filled) etc.”,

is (also) a prelude to the warning in the following verse.

For when "Seven days (have) passed etc.” then the L-rd said to Moshe that he should go and warn Pharaoh regarding the plague of frogs.

For if the intent of Scripture is just to inform us how many days the plague lasted – it should have stated,

"and the plague shall be seven days" (and so forth).

Since the verse precisely states,

“Seven full days were filled etc.”,

 (in other words, the time of the completion and end of the plague)

it somewhat implies, that this verse is a prelude to the that which will come after the completion of this plague.

However, on the other hand, if "were filled etc.” is only a prelude to the following verse, Scripture should have stated,

"after the plague” (ויהי אחרי המכה) (and so forth).

Since however, Scripture informs us, with this preface, also the amount of time that the plague lasted,

(as it states, “Seven full days were filled”),

it implies that even this amount is related to the continuation, in the following verse, regarding the warning.

This is why Rashi writes –

"For the plague would be in effect for a quarter of a month, and for three quarters (of the month), he (Moshe) would exhort and warn them."

In other words, even the warning was also associated with a specific amount and time.

Moreover, the two aspects in each plague,

(the duration of the plague and its warning/ שימושה של המכה והתראתה)

and their amount, are parts of one complete amount (חלקים משיעור אחד שלם) that encompasses the general plague:

The complete and set amount of the general plague was a (complete) month. The month was divided into two parts:

  • One part (a quarter of a month) was the amount of the plague itself, and
  • Three parts - the amount of the warning.

4. One could say that this is Rashi's intent – by prefacing:

"The plague would be in effect”

to the words,

"he (Moshe) would exhort and warn them".

(Which is plainly the opposite order, for beforehand comes attesting and warning - and then the plague):

The source of this order is the order of the verses.

For, “Seven full days were filled”

(which teaches us the amount of time that the plague endured)

comes as a prelude to,

“The L-rd said to Moshe, ‘Go to Pharaoh and say to him etc.’”, –

warning for the following plague.

Rashi’s comment is based on this foundation. Namely, that the month of days that was allotted for each and every plague was divided, in such a way, that in the first quarter,

"the plague would be in effect. . and the three quarters (after this), he (Moshe) would exhort and warn them”,

for the following plague.

However, seemingly this is a puzzling thing:

How is it appropriate to say that the amount of the time of the plague, is divided in such a way, that the plague comes first - and then, afterward, the warning for the following plague?

The whole aspect of warning is a preparation and prelude to the plague (which specifically comes afterward)!

5. One could say that the explanation of this is:

The intent of the warnings to Pharaoh was not (only) in the usual understanding of a warning - preparation for the following plague. (Rather), it was to alarm (לאיים) and influence Pharaoh to ultimately send Bnei Yisroel out of his land.

For G-d said to Moshe immediately at the beginning of his mission to Pharaoh, “And I will harden Pharaoh's heart . . and Pharaoh will not listen to you etc."

The warnings were (also) an aspect of "a plague" – in order “to " to castigate him (לרדותו) with . .sufferings". In other words, to cause him pain and suffering.

The words that Moshe spoke to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, in the style of warning etc., during the entire aforementioned time – was pain and suffering to Pharaoh.

According to this, it is understood that the warning is a continuation of the previous plague. Especially since the intent of the warnings - "to castigate him with . .sufferings"- was much more effective when the warnings came in proximity to the (actual) plagues:

When the river had just returned to its former state - and immediately Moshe comes to Pharaoh to warn him about the next plague – this continues and increases the effect and torment of the previous plague.

One could say that also for this reason, there came the warning for the first plague (blood) - in continuation (and immediately) after the miracle of the staff (למופת המטה).

For after the wonder that took place before Pharaoh - that Aaron's staff became a snake . . and swallowed . . their staffs – G-d commanded Moshe:

"Go to Pharaoh . . and the staff that was turned into a snake, take in your hand. Say to him etc.”

(The warning for the plague of blood).

For through this, the warning affected Pharaoh with even more force.

6. According to this, another precise wording of Rashi is answered:

In the Midrashim, the wording is

"He warned” (היי מתרה).

Yet Rashi adds,

"He attested and warned" (הי׳ מעיד ומתרה)

(Moreover, Rashi prefaces attesting before warning):

The difference between attesting and warning is:

  • The aspect of attesting (from the word testimony) is to inform and reveal something that has happened in the past, or something that will surely happen in the future.


  • Whereas warning means to caution (להזהיר) that the coming of the thing is dependent upon the conduct of the person being warned. If he will repent (or will not sin) it will not come, and if not – it will come.

So too, in Moshe’s words to Pharaoh there were the two types:

  • The attestings (ההעדאות) were notifications that he will (certainly) be punished for not sending out the Jewish people; and
  • The warnings were on the future - "If you refuse to send out etc." (then after this warning) a certain plague will come upon him.

According to the above explanation regarding the purpose of the warnings, it is understood why Rashi precedes the "attesting” to the “warning".

For the warnings were a matter of "attesting". For although they were said in a language of warning,

 "But if you refuse etc.",

nevertheless, since "Pharaoh will not listen to you", they are (also) a testimony - and Moshe (who was speaking to Pharaoh) knew that the plague would surely come.

7. Shabbat Parshat Va’eira occurs (in most years) on Shabbat Mevarchim Shvat – the month that we bless the month of Shvat - or (like in this year -5747) Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Shvat – which, on the tenth of this month, is the day of the Hilulah of the Rebbe Rayatz.

One could say a hint and teaching in Avodat HaShem, from the above (regarding the warnings to Pharaoh (to the opposer),

which were mainly to "smite him", " to castigate him with . .sufferings") –

according to what is explained in the Maamarim of the Hilulah, regarding the Middah (characteristic) of Netzach (מדת הנצח).

(Note: Netzach - lit. “victory” is the receiving of G-d's effluence through a prelude of harshness)

For there is a special aspect in waging war to break and defeat the opposer.

For the aspect of victory (the Middah of Netzach) is planted and rooted in the essence of the soul. Which is why, for the victory of war, the king opens the sealed and hidden treasure stores that were accumulated from generation to generation.

So too, is it in spirituality. In order to vanquish those who oppose holiness and everything related to G-d, Yisroel (the children of the Omnipresent), and Torah and Mitzvot – G-d reveals the most sublime spiritual treasures to win this war.

So too, is it with regard to Egypt, as it is cited in the Maamer (in the chapter belonging to this year - chapter 17):

“’He finds wind (to send) out of His treasuries. He struck down the firstborn of Egypt’” (מוצא רוח מאוצרותיו שהכה בכורי מצרים),

"For in order to smite the firstborn of Egypt. . (for) they are the strength and power of Kelipah, and for this purpose – he brought forth a wind (רוח) from His treasuries".

From this, the lesson is also to us, in this generation, the generation of the heels of Moshiach, that notwithstanding the magnitude of the double and redoubled darkness in the world. We must know that in order to win this spiritual war, we have been given all the necessary powers for it, from the hidden "treasures" of G-d.

Through standing strong, with great force, and though strengthening our engaging in Torah, Avodah, and Mitzvot - we will soon merit victory, true victory.

Bnei Yisroel will go out of Galut, with a high hand (ביד רמה), with the true and complete Geulah through our righteous Moshiach, speedily and in our days, Mamosh.

M’sichas Shabbat Parshat Va’eira 5735


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