And Hashem Hardened His Heart

Sometimes we may wonder how it was possible for Pharoah to see the Hand of G-d over and over again, yet fail to see a thing. How can one be so blind? It was first by the mako of “kinim” that he admitted that it was “a finger of G-d.” Hashem smote him with mako after mako; blood, frogs, lice, wild animals, pestilence, shchin etc., yet he was totally convinced that it was all nothing but nature running amok or, perhaps, all some magical spell. He just couldn’t get himself to admit that it was G-d’s doing. Perhaps it’s time we too have a very good look, and try to understand what’s happening all around us. We don’t need a microscope or a telescope. All we need is a pair of Torah glasses. Just make sure that they are perfectly clear and don’t have any scratched or colored lenses, otherwise you may get a distorted or warped picture.

The daily news keeps reporting that millions of people all over the world are dying each year from a terrible plague called Aids which is spread by a very tiny virus that infects the human blood and destroys its ability to defend itself. It destroys the body’s natural defense system that normally guards it against foreign invaders. Yet we fail to see who or why these viruses have been sent to attack us. We’re no cleverer than Pharoah who refused to see the obvious. Every child knows how these killer viruses are transmitted yet we refuse to heed their warning! We’re as obstinate as Pharoah that refused to believe that it was Hashem Who made it all happen! Only recently did the papers report that New York was infested with more rats than we can count. These rats seem to be and go everywhere and are considered dangerous. While the frogs entered through the chimney and even went into the fire, these rats live in our sewer system and can enter our homes through a million different ways. They have become totally resistant to all our poisonous sprays and are not afraid of being drowned by water or burned by fire. While they are known to spread diseases of all kinds, we still haven’t found a way to get rid of them. Perhaps we ought start praying before they go on a rampage. Others claim that the racket made by today’s cell phone users and wedding music is far more damaging to the ears than was the noise made by the frogs in Egypt. Who knows?

While the Egyptians suffered from lice for only one week, our plague of lice doesn’t show any sign of leaving. Every few weeks it keeps reappearing elsewhere. Despite all our sprays, they always come back. One wonders when we will be rid of them. For wild animals (orov) we don’t really have to look far. They are running loose all over the public schools and have invaded all of Israel. These wild animals in fact carry deadly weapons and know how to shoot them with deadly accuracy. At one time they were locked up in prison but now they are running wild through every town and city. Yet, it’s quite surprising that we still don’t seem to know who let them loose!

The present horrid plague of dever, also known as the “foot and mouth disease,” has already caused the death of millions of animals and there still seems to be no sign of it abating. This horrible widespread plague seems to be getting worse from day to day, and when or how it will end nobody knows. While Sh’chin attacked only the surface of the human body, a large variety of cancer-causing illnesses are spreading throughout the entire body. Even modern day medicine men (the equivalent of Pharoh’s magicians) admit that it’s being caused by something so small that even they have no control over it.)

The Hail which contained fire caused massive damage and destruction to Egyptian vegetation. So did the recent wind swept fires that spread through the States of Florida and California which are being attributed to fluky weather conditions. Are we as blind as Pharaoh?

While the locusts that invaded Egypt ate up every blade of grass, the mosquitoes that have made their way into the Northeastern United States carry a very dangerous virus appropriately called the West Nile Virus, that can cause death to those that it bites. So far, we have managed to control them by spraying them from the air with toxic chemicals. I wonder what we will do when they develop a resistance to our sprays? Perhaps then we will realize Who sent them and cry out to Him and ask that He take them away?

To experience darkness all we need do is move to California, where there seem to be constant blackouts. News reports warn that the same thing can easily happen to New York, yet we don’t seem to be too concerned. Neither was Pharoah!

What’s coming next I’m sure you all know, Hopefully, Hashem will have mercy and pass over our homes. Then it will be followed by Moshiach that will finally take us out of this long, dark and bitter golus with great signs and wonders. Perhaps he’ll open up our eyes and show us how blind we’ve been over all these years. We were nearly as foolish as Pharaoh that saw it all happening in front of his eyes, yet failed to realize where it was coming from! Perhaps one day we’ll realize that whether it’s snakes, lice, roaches or rats, viruses, locusts, mosquitoes or flies. Hail, hurricanes, tornadoes or earthquakes. They all come from the very same direction and all originate from the very same source. If we’d only know where they are coming from, then we’d surely be able to save ourselves much aggravation and pain. Let’s just hope that our heart has still not been hardened like that of Pharoh.

So let’s sit back and eat those matzas just like the Jews ate while still in mitzrayim. We need not tighten our belt nor put on our shoes. Neither must we hold our stick in our hand or put blood on our doorposts. That’s because we have already spilled far more than enough blood throughout the past two thousand year old golus. The novi tells us that our final redemption will not be rushed like when we left mitzrayim. That’s because Hashem will destroy all the tumah of golus as it says “v’es ruach ha’tumah avir min ho’oretz.” If there is no tuma left, then there is no need to hurry out.

Certainly in the merit of our great faith and trust in Him despite fire, water, gas, and brimstone. Despite the Crusades and the Holocaust, the massacres and blood libels, we can be certain that it will be “b’domayich chai’yi, b’domayich chai’yi.”

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