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Friday, January 30

The Weekly Shtikle - Bo

This week's parsha begins with the warning of the forthcoming plague of "arbeh," locusts. Moshe Rabbeinu warns Paroah (10:4) that if he refuses to set B'nei Yisroel free, HaShem will bring locusts in his midst tomorrow. He then proceeds to explain that the locusts will cover the view of the land, will not be able to see the land and will devour the remaining crops that survived the hail.  The pasuk does not explain who it is that will not be able to see the land. Rashi comments, as he often does, that the Torah sometimes leaves out the subject of the sentence and instead, uses a shorter form. Essentially, it is as if the Torah would have written "and the looker will not be able to see the land." This interpretation is supported by Rashba"m and Ibn Ezra.


However, Klei Yakar objects to this interpretation. The fact that the Egyptians will not be able to see the land is insignificant with regards to the damage caused by the plague and need not be mentioned. It is certainly not as significant as the fact that they will wipe out all the remaining crops and should certainly have been mentioned afterward. Yet, it seems there is some degree of cause and effect alluded to in this pasuk, as well as the pasuk describing the plague itself (10:15).


Therefore, Klei Yakar offers an alternate explanation of the pasuk. There is a natural phenomenon that blind people tend to get much less satisfaction out of their food. The gratification that one derives from eating is apparently contingent upon their ability to see the food. The pasuk is not telling us that the Egyptians wouldn't see the land but rather, the locusts would not be able to see the land. As a result of the locusts' inability to see where they are going or what they are eating, they will never become satisfied and they will eat and eat until everything is gone. This is why Moshe goes on to warn that the locusts, after destroying the fields, will make their way into each and every home to find more food. This was apparently such a compelling prediction that Paroah rushed to call Moshe after the locusts had consumed everything outdoors that survived the hail. This is the only plague in which Paroah is said to have rushed to call Moshe. This is because he understood and believed that once the locusts were finished devouring the outdoors, they would not be satisfied and would then invade the houses.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka


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