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Friday, January 7

The Weekly Shtikle - Bo

The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my father, Reuven Pinchas ben Chaim Yaakov, a"h.


The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my Oma, Chaya Sara bas Zecharia Chaim, a"h.

When Moshe comes to warn Paroah about makas bechoros, he declares (11:5) that all the firstborn in Mitzrayim shall die, from the firstborn of Paroah who sits on his throne to the firstborn of the handmaiden who sits behind the millstones. There is a slight discrepancy, however, between this pasuk and the pasuk dealing with the plague itself. There (12:29) we are told that in the middle of the night, HaShem smote all the firstborn in the land of Mitzrayim, from the firstborn of Paroah who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon. Here the handmaiden is substituted for the captive.


Rabbi Raphael Davidovich of Cleveland, OH once showed me a nice explanation from the sefer HaKesav vehaKabalah. He writes that many commentaries say that the handmaiden and the captive are one and the same. The Egyptians would capture women and have them do work during the day. At night, since they were not doing work, they locked them up in their cells. He adds when Moshe came to Paroah to warn him about the plague, it was daytime so then he referred to them as the handmaidens that sit behind the millstone. But the actual plague took place at night so the Torah refers to them as the captives in the dungeon.


Another explanation can be suggested based on what Rashi expresses numerous times –  that Moshe took a deliberately overly respective tone with Paroah. Moshe referred to them as handmaidens so as to go along with the impression that these women were graciously being provided employment. But the narrative account of the actual plague reveals the true nature of their plight as prisoners who are subjugated by day and subjected to confinement at night.


Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Dikdukian: Talented Locusts

Dikdukian: Better not Butcher This One

AstroTorah: Korban Pesach in the Sky by R' Ari Storch

AstroTorah: The Death Star (Ra'ah) the classic by R' Ari Storch


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