Top 10 Plagues – Kli Yakar on Va’Era

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I’ve recently been “getting into” the Kli Yakar and just heard a fascinating piece on the 10 plagues. I took down some notes and am sharing them for your enjoyment.


Reiterates that there is a Gd in the world. בזאת תדע כי אני ד’.

דם – The Nile was a god.

צפרדע – Frogs martyred themselves. They survived. This was later emulated by חננאל, מישאל ואזריה.

כנים – the חרתומים stated that there was a finger of god. מדה כנגד מדה, there was an ancient belief that sweat produces lice which is indicative of hard labor.


shows that Hashem micromanages the world. פרעה said that Hashem is incapable of performing miracles.

למען תדע כי אני ד’ בקרב הארץ – some people believe in השגחה כללית without השגחה פרטית – good and bad guys both get it the same.

ערוב – עירבוביה – mixture of animals. To counter that, all humankind is mixed together. We are like חיות in giving birth.

דבר – strikes cattle of Egyptians only.
שחין – The חרתומים couldn’t stand in front of משה because of their painful boils. שחין first struck the חרתומים then the rest of Egypt.


Gd is incapable of performing miracles. בעבור תדע כי אין כמוני בכל הארץ. Gd can change nature. No dualism or other diety. they strike heavens. Torah can only be had with one Gd.

ברד – obscures sun.
ארבה – locusts blind the sun.
חושך – darkness obstructs the sun.
מכת בחורות – firstborn children to counteract throwing firstborn children in nile which went against the ברכה of multiplying like fish (goes back to דם ).

ראש השנה branches

דצ”ך – מלכויות – Gd
עד”ש – זיכרונו – משגיח
באח”ב – שופרות – מתן תורה