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Friday, January 27

The Weekly Shtikle - Bo

This week's parsha begins with the plague of locusts which entailed a swarm of insects so great that it caused a darkness to fall over the land. Additionally, whatever was not previously destroyed by the hail was consumed by the locusts. However, there are a number of aspects of Paroah's frantic reaction that are somewhat anomalous. First, the pasuk recounts (10:16) that Paroah hurried to call Moshe and Aharon which we don't find with the other plagues. 

Second, Paroah pleads for Moshe to remove "this death" from him. This particular plague did not seem to be of a life-threatening nature, certainly when compared to some of the others. Why is it referred to as a death? Additionally, the pasuk already recounted the locusts' activities and the destruction of the remaining crops. As devastating as this plague was, the damage was already done.

Last night, I heard a novel approach from R' Zalman Sorotzkin in Aznayim LaTorah, one that will surely resonate with those in the Baltimore area and others that recently endured a significant cicada invasion. Paroah understood very well the biological nature of these particular locusts. If they were to stick around any longer they would lay eggs in the ground and the offspring would emerge years later. True, there was no way to mitigate the damage caused by the current generation of locusts. But if they were not immediately purged from the land, they would begin a cycle which would repeatedly destroy the vegetation in Egypt and bring the entire nation to its knees with a recurring famine. This explains Paroah's urgency under the circumstances.

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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