(10:1) “Vayomer Hashem El-Moshe Bo El-Pharoh Ki-Ani Hichbadity es Leibo- Hashem said to Moshe come to Pharoh for I have hardened his heart.”

A question of freedom of choice is always asked regarding these parshas. How could Hashem harden Pharoh's heart? What about free will? One answer could be that after the Egyptians witnessed so many revelations through the ten plagues, there was little doubt about who Hashem is. It was just a question of when and how they would die. Hashem made them refuse to release the Jews to show his glory in many different ways. According to the Ohr Hachaim Hashem really didn't take away Pharoh's free will but rather continually left an opening for him to delude himself that Hashem's power was limited in some way.

   The purpose of bringing these additional plagues was not an act of revenge. Hashem could have done that with a single plague. According to the Gr’a the ten Macos paralleled the Ten Mamorous that created the world. Benei Yisroel had experienced four hundred years of servitude in which the black arts of the Egyptians prevailed. Their experience of the world had been formed by seeing nature through the magic and witchcraft that was prevalent in Mitzraim. Hashem, in a sense recreated the world for Benei Yisroel by performing the Ten Macos over a period of one year. This process, over time, began to sink in. The purpose was not to prolong the suffering of the Egyptians but rather a gradual learning experience for Benei Yisroel. Little by little like the peel of an onion the layers of the Tumah that was Mitzraim were peeled away to expose the truth about the universe. That is why the Ten Macos were in exactly the reverse order of the Ten Mamorous that created the world. The first, Breishis, corresponds to             Macos Bechoros, the killing of the first born. The second, “Let there be light” corresponds to Macos Choshech The plague of darkness.

   There are many things that go into making redemption a reality. However, one thing that is important for the achievement of freedom, both on a national and a personal level, is not something that people think about immediately. Yet, without it, it would have been difficult to maintain the freedom that was achieved, as the journey of the Jewish people makes clear.

In modern psychology, we call it self-esteem. A crucial part of gaining freedom, and certainly a major part of keeping it, is a sense of self-worth. In fact, it was so central to the geulah process that the first eight plagues were designed to increase the self-esteem of the Jewish people, in order to make sure that when the time was ready to leave, the Jewish people would be ready to go.

   In the end, the efforts had failed. It wasn’t that they did not believe Hashem could save them. It was that they did not believe they were worthy of having miracles performed for them. They had been a generation that had been born into slavery, which means they had a slave mentality. The freedom that we take for granted had previously been unknown to them, and it is easier to take a man out of slavery than it is to take the slavery out of a man. Even a year of incredible miracles on their behalf, including being allowed to see the enemy disposed of at the will of G-d, didn’t change that. This is the true meaning of the term Yetzias Mitzraim-The taking out of Egypt. It is the removal of the Egyptian influence that had become such a part of Klal Yisroel.

   The next generation of Jews who entered the Land 40 years later, were a generation born into freedom, though they had been one that had been impacted by a generation born into slavery. Nevertheless, being born or growing up after the slavery was over gave the children of those who left Egypt a fighting chance at believing in themselves, and therefore, a chance at believing in the miracles God wrought to save them.

   The situation is not much different today, even though we have been born into freedom. One of the reasons that we don’t believe that Moshiach could come in our generation is because we cannot see how history today could evolve into such a period of time short of some amazing miracles The people of Israel, as a nation, are freed. Their destiny awaits them at the foot of mount Sinai. But that is not where Sefer Shemos, the Sefer of Geulah, ends. Hashem’s presence must return to this world and the Children of Israel must enter the promised land. Only then will creation have reached its completion. The Ten Plagues served as one of the major stepping stones along the way toward this goal.

   When the numerical value of all of the plagues are added together we arrive at 2834. Which equals the verse in Devarim (30:5) “V’heviacha Hashem Elokecha el H’oretz Asher Yorshu Avosecha V’Yorishtah-Hashem your G-D will bring you to the land that your forefathers possessed and you shall inherit it.

   Why didn't Hashem change Pharoh's heart to free Benei Yisroel instead of hardening it to refuse to free them? As long as we are suspending free will why not make it easy? Hashem wanted there to be no possibility of crediting anyone else for Israel's redemption. If Hashem had made Pharoh's heart soft, people would say that he, Pharoh freed the nation and not credit Hashem. The Genarrah in Avodah Zarah writes that in the future when the nations of the world will be held accountable for their actions they will claim that everything they did was for the sake of the Jews. The bridges they built, the businesses they ran were all to benefit Yisrael. However we have a United Nations. Every vote on every resolution is recorded. The records will show how all of their actions were against Yisrael and they will have no way to escape judgement.

   (10:2) “U'liman Tisapare B'ozney Binchah u'Ben-Binchah - And so that you may relate in the ears of your sons and grandsons.” In the very beginning of this parsha Hashem tells Moshe that he should go to Pharoh since I hardened his heart in order that you should relate “in the ears of your son and grandson” how I dealt with the Egyptians. This is the only makeh where this "telling to your grandsons" is mentioned. The Torah writes “never before had there been such locust and never again afterward.” To this day it is known that throughout northern Africa there comes a swarm of locust every 17 years and they never enter Egypt. For this reason this was the only Makeh that mentions telling over to your sons because its effect is still visible today.

   (10:9) “Vayomer Moshe B’Nareinu U’Bzikneinu-Moshe said with our youngsters and with our elders.” Pharoh questioned Moshe as to who will be leaving for this three day festival? He said “Mi V'Mi Holchim-Who and who will be going.” The Gematria of the words “Mi Vmi”equals Kaleiv and Bin Nun. They were the only two people who survived the forty years in the desert. All of the rest died there. Moshe replied “with our youngsters and with our elders.” In reality this was to be the case for only the old- Bzikneinu (over 60) and the young- B’Nareinu (under 20) would survive the forty years in the desert.

   (10:22) “Vayehe Choshech-Afeilah Bechol Eretz Mitzraim Sheloshes Yomim - And there was total darkness in the entire land of Egypt for three days.” Why did Hashem cause there to be darkness when He could just as easily made the Egyptians blind? Because a person who loses one of his senses, gains greater faculty in the remaining senses. His hearing becomes more attuned, the other senses become heightened. Hashem did not want them to gain from the plagues. However we can learn from here a tremendous lesson. Every negative has a positive. In other words whenever Hashem brings about something that is seemingly bad, we have to look for the good that is there and bring it out. Hashem did not want the Egyptians to gain so He created a darkness that was palatable. The Egyptians could not move for three days. The positive was given to Yisrael. They benefitted by being exposed to the Ohr Haganuz for the duration of the plague. That’s why the verse ends with “U’Lchol Benei Yisroel Hoyoh Ohr B’Moshvosum-For all the children of Israelthere was light in their dwellings.”

   (10:22) “Vayehe Choshech-Afeilah Bechol Eretz Mitzraim Sheloshes Yomim - And there was total darkness in the entire land of Egypt for three days.” One of the reasons for this plague was that at the time there were many Jews who did not want to leave Egypt. They had collaborated with the Egyptians and gained great wealth. Hashem did not want to kill these people openly, since He did not want the Egyptians to say that the Jews were no better than they. Hashem therefore brought darkness upon Egypt so they would not be able to see how these Jews died and were buried.

   Why did so many Jews deserve to die just because they wished to remain in Egypt? According to the Meam Loez Hashem really wanted to kill many Jews during the plague of wild beasts, since animals were one of the Idols they had worshipped. B ut Hashem had mercy on them and spared them. This being the case why did He kill them now? When Moshe took on the mission he asked Hashem (3:11) “V’Chi Otzi es Benei Yisroel M’mitzrayim-In what merit will the children of Israel be taken out of Egypt?” Hashem replied “Tavdun es -Elokim al Hahar Hazeh-They will serve Hashem on this mountain.” on the condition that they will accept the Torah they were redeemed. But the people who wanted to remain in Egypt were those who did not wish to accept the Torah. Not having any merit to be saved, they had to die.

     The Makeh of darkness contained two stages, first the darkness, in which the Jews had the light that was hidden away at the beginning of creation for tzadikim, and then the heavy darkness that made them unable to move. The question is why was this makeh done in two stages? Also why was it only six days instead of seven like the rest of the makos? We see here an amazing thing. First that a nation that spent 210 years as slaves were able to walk into the homes of their oppressors and not remove a single one of their possessions! And second that given the chance to escape not a single Jew moved from his place even though he could have with ease. So the answer is that this makeh could have been only one stage. But since Benei Yisroel did not move in the first three days, Hashem made the Egyptians not able to move in the second three days. That's why the makeh was done in two stages. This is also why they found favor in the eyes of the Egyptians when they came to borrow their valuables. They were so impressed by the fact that not a single item was taken from them.

     We learned that during the Makeh of Choshech there was darkness all over Egypt. But for the Jews there was light. If all of Egypt was dark how could there be light by the Jews? Chazal say that all the plagues that hit the Egyptians also struck the Benei Yisroel. So when there was the plague of darkness it was all over Egypt even by the Jews but only for a moment. If this is true what about the plague of the first born? We must say that they too experienced that plague but were then brought back to life. That's also why it says that Hashem himself did this plague and not an angel. Because we know there are three keys that are in the hands of Hashem, birth, reincarnation and rain. Since they experienced all the plagues they too died for a moment and were brought back to life by Hashem.

   The Sifsei Chachomim write that the Egyptians were blinded by the light of the Ohr Haganuz. This could perhaps explain why there is no mention of the Mateh used to bring this plague. The Mateh represents the turning away from Hashem, the hiding of the Shechina. The root of the word comes from the word Noteh to bend. When a person travels away from his source, he can always find his way back if he is traveling in a straight line. As soon as he makes a turn he no longer can see where he came from. As we say in Aleinu-”Shehu Noteh Shomayim V’yosed Eretz- He bends the heavens and makes the earth.” Hashem hides the heaven (Spirituality) in nature. Here during the plague of darkness Hashem released the blinding light of the Ohr Haganuz, therefore no Mateh was used.

   (10:23) "U'lechol Benei Yisroel Haysa Ohr - For all of Yisrael there was light " How can we say they all had light when 80% died in this plague? The answer is that the same light which was beneficial for the righteous was detrimental for the wicked.

   (10:25) “Vayomer Moshe Gam Atoh Titein B’Yadeinu Zevachim V’Olos-Moshe said even you will place in our hands feast offerings and elevation offerings.” The Ramban asks how could Moshe take animals from Egypt that were used for Idol worship? The Imrei Emes answers that these animals were stolen from Benei Yisroe. Therefore Pharoh’s action had no effect.

   (11:2) “Dabaer Nah B'Aznei H'Am-Please speak unto the ears of the nation.” The Benei Yisroel were asked to please borrow gold and silver from the Egyptians. How could they do this if they had no intention of returning these items? Why does Hashem need to say please for them to accept gold and silver?

   R'Chananel says; Heaven forbid that Hashem would permit them to deceive their fellow man. Rather we see the word for borrowing (shoaloh) can mean asking for a gift so the Egyptians gave them gifts to hasten them to leave. The Malbim says that the gold and silver were to be payment for the land that the Jew possessed. They had fields and vineyards, homes and household articles. What would they do with these things when they were leaving Egypt? In doing so they fulfilled the posuk that says they will save the Egyptians.(3:22) Meaning the Jewish people will save their property from the Egyptians. Sharei Simcha says the gold and silver were payment for the work they did. The din is if you take by force money owed to you it must be returned. But if you receive it as a loan you may keep it even against the will of the lender, since it came into your hands in a legal manner.

   Even more important perhaps is the lesson that Benei Yisrael needed to learn. All of the wealth in the world is only yours to borrow. Hashem entrusts his people to use it for Him but don't assume that it remains in one person's possession forever.

   The word please was used because Benei Yisroel were reluctant to accept monies that would appear as if compensation for the genocide they endured for 210 years. Much like the war reparations offered by Germany after the Holocaust. Many Jews, at that time, refused to accept blood money from the Germans.

   (11:2) “Vayishalu Ish M’ase Ri’ahu-Let each man request from his friend...Vayitain Hashem es Chain H’am B’Aynei Mitzrayim-And Hashem will grant favor in the eyes of the Egyptians” Why did Hashem not instill fear into the Egyptians as He did with the plagues? If He wanted them to hand over the wealth of Egypt He could have made them do so without placing favor in their eyes?

   Rabbi Zev Leff writes that the lesson we are to learn from this is for future generations as well. When Yisroel carries out the will of Hashem, the nations of the world look at us with high esteem. The Egyptians wanted to be able to serve Hashem with the best of this world. Not only did they give them the gold and silver, but royal clothing as well. This provided the additional benefit of giving a nation, born into slavery, the self esteem it would otherwise not be able to obtain. But how could they wear Egyptian clothing? It was one of the three things that Yisroel did not change. It gave them the merit to be redeemed? Not only that but the Posuk says they shall place it on the children? What kind of lesson is that for them?

Rav Leff answers that we can learn from this a tremendous lesson. The clothing was only restricted in Mizrayim. In the desert it was permitted. Klal Yisroel must remain separate. To dress or follow the Egyptians leads to assimilation, as is evident by the number of Jews that died there. But to wear Egyptian clothing in the Midbar was permitted even to the extent of placing them on the children.

   (11:5) "Umase Kol Bechor-All of the firstborn died." The Torah tells us that even the firstborn of the animals died? Why was it be necessary to kill so many firstborn children? We have a tradition from the Zohar that whenever God created some phenomenon which was clearly good, He also created its counterpart, something potentially evil at the same time. Every sacred phenomenon in our world is matched by a parallel phenomenon under the control of the Satan. The latter makes every effort to gain dominance over the former. Since Hashem has declared Yisroel as his firstborn (4:22) the opposing firstborn of evil would exert every effort to frustrate the emigration of the Jewish people from Egypt. This made it necessary to kill all the firstborn in Egypt from young to old, and even from the animal world. Hashem needed to destroy the concept of firstborn being unique in this world. In contrast Hashem commanded that we sanctify our firstborn children. (Ohr HaChaim)

   (12:1) “Vayomer Hashem el Moshe V’el Aaron B’eretz Mitzeayim- Hashem said to Moshe and Aaron in the land of Egypt.” Why is the “Land of Egypt” mentioned here. We know that for the better part of a year Moshe and Aaron were in the land of Egypt? Why reiterate this fact now? Perhaps we can say the following: Benei Yisroel were about to be commanded to prepare the Egyptian idol for slaughter. They would be taking something that they themselves worshipped. How could something used for the lowly act of idolatry be turned into an elevated act of holiness, a mitzvah? The Arizal says that the entire purpose of Klal Yisroel being in Egypt in the first place was to have elevated the Egyptians to the awareness of Hashem. That experiment failed. Instead Yisroel is found teetering on the brink of the 50th level of Tumeh and 80 percent of the population is decimated in the plague of darkness.

   To fulfill 400 years of servitude is out of the equation. It’s time to regroup. Hashem mirrors the Ten Mamoros that created the world into the Ten Macos. He gives his first creation, Time, to Yisroel. Here in Mitzrayim, now at this juncture the turnaround is to begin. That which the Egyptians worshipped will be slaughtered. Specifically in Mitzrayim the mitzvah needed to be performed. The Egyptians used the full moon for their calculations.(Tzror Hamor)

   (12:2)“Hachodesh Hazeh Lochem Rosh Chadoshim-This month shall be for you the first of the months.” Of all the 613 Mitzvos why is this is the first mitzvah? To answer this we must ask another question. If the Benei Yisroel were intended to remain in Mitzraim for 400 years how then could they be taken out after only 210 years? The Gemarrah (Yevamos 46) says “Hekdish Mafgiya Midei Shibud” when someone borrows money from someone and he gives him collateral against the loan, the borrower can’t sell the collateral because it is meshubid/bound to the lender like a lean. But if he is Makdish it, if he sanctifies it, it does become taken out of the possession of the lender. The same was true of Benei Yisroel. Hashem was Makdish them so they were able to leave the shibud. This could be why the first Mitzvah was Rosh Chodesh. The numerical value of the words Rosh Chodesh equals 819. The same value as the word Hikdashty- sanctify to me. (Bamidbar 3:13) By sanctifying Israel they became a holy nation.

   The purpose of the exodus was to raise Klal Yisroel to be Hashem’s nation. To separate them and sanctify them to Him. They were to become a light to all the nations of the world. We see this from the very start of redemption when Hashem tells Moshe to convey His message “Shelach es Ami-Let my people go!” The numerical value of “Shelach es Ami” is equal to Maeir es Ha’Olam Kulo-Light up the entire world.(859)

   (12:3) “On the tenth day of this month they shall take for themselves, each man, a lamb.”

Why four days in advance of the sacrifice? Rashi says in order to check for defects. But that was not the command for future Pascal offerings? However they were to perform Bris Milah on the tenth giving them at least three days to recover before leaving on the fourteenth and offering the Korbon Pesach.

(12:8) “V’Achlu es-Habosor Blayla Hazeh..Umatzos Al-Morrim Yochlu-They Shall eat the Flesh on that night..And Matzos with bitter herbs they shall eat.” For thousands of years Jews have observed this rite, eating matza and maror on Passover eve, either with the sacrifice (during the time of the Temple) or by itself. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the Jews in Egypt ate the Passover sacrifice with maror and matza.

   We are taught in the Mishna Pesachim, that we eat maror as a “memorial” to the Jewish lives embittered by slavery. If this is the case then it indeed seems strange that the Jews in Egypt prior to the Exodus needed a memorial, as if they had already forgotten what it was like to be a slave to Pharaoh in Egypt. Perhaps today we need to eat bitter herbs in order to remind ourselves what the bitterness of slavery was like, but why would the slaves need such a reminder? The reason we eat matzah is also taught in the Mishna the Jews left Egypt in such haste that they did not even have time for their bread to rise. But what about the matza they ate (as commanded) before they left on the night of the very first Seder? Surely there was no haste then? Why eat the matza the previous evening? When the Jews ate matza that evening, what was their religious experience while eating it? The night before redemption, while they were still enslaved to Pharaoh, the Jews smeared the blood of the Korban Pesach on the doors, and then sat down to celebrate the redemption, because at that point they already felt free! Having actually travelled on wings of eagles to the Temple Mount the experience of that first Passover night so transformed them that they were literally able to taste it. The symbols of the Matzoh and bitter herbs were now necessary to bring them back down to earth just long enough to establish the mitzvos of the Seder night for all future generations.

   We can now understand why the Torah begins this section with the commandment concerning time. We are entrusted with the ability to determine the nature of time. Will it be sacred or mundane? We are at the same time taught a powerful lesson: The Jew has the ability to transcend time, to trust in God so completely that the problems of the present are resolved when considered in the larger context of eternity. The ability of the Jews to trust in God was the final act that ushered in the redemption from Egypt. For when a Jew truly trusts in God, he becomes part of the world to come, tasting redemption. (R.Ari Kahn)

   (12:11) "V'ochaltem Oso B'chipozone-You must eat it in haste." Why must it be eaten in haste? Didn't Hashem plan the exact moment for the redemption to arrive? The answer is Hashem who was with them in exile, should not be amongst the idols any longer than needed.

   (12:13) “V’Hoyo H’dam Lochem L’os al Boteichem-And the blood will be to you as a sign upon the houses.” Why would the Jews need a sign? The Oznayim L’Torah writes that the blood will be a sign that this was a house of a victim, a home where a child was drowned or taken to have their blood used for Pharoh to bathe in. This sign served as a symbol for all of Israel that they would no longer be victims, that their long awaited redemption had finally arrived.

   There two questions that need explanation. First, why are there Jews living next door to Egyptians? Weren’t they all living in Goshen? Secondly, why would Hashem need to spare the Jews from the killing of the first born? After Hashem had performed all of these miracles highlighting how the Benei Yisroel are separate from the other nations, after all of the other plagues had passed why would He now kill Jews? The Netziv answers both of these questions in his comment in the Emek Hadovar. When Yakov came down to Mitzrayim with the seventy souls he instructed them to remain separate to prevent assimilation. However, after all of the sons of Yakov passed awayYisroel began moving away from Goshen and the assimilation began. Those Jews who were assimilating with the Egyptians deserved to be killed through the attribute of justice. But the attribute of mercy spared them. Thats why the verse “Posach Hashem al Ha’Pesach” uses the name of Hashem that denotes mercy. “Posach Hashem al Ha’Pesach”equals 433 the same as Zu Geulah Sheleimah.

   (12:17) "Ushmartem Es Hamatzos-You shall safeguard the Matzos" Rashi quotes R.Yoshia as saying "Don't read it as Guard the Matzos but rather guard the Mitzvos. The question is how does he know to say this? The Shelah Hakodesh answers from the extra word "Es" which is an acronym for Al Tomru.

   (12:22) “ Lo Saytzu Ish Mipesach-Beiso Ad-Boker - Let no man go out of the door of his house until morning.” Rashi says that when the “Masches” is let loose to destroy he can't differentiate between the righteous person and the evil person. The question is the Haggada tells us that this makeh, of the first born, was performed by Hashem himself. So how can Rashi say that the angel of death was let loose? Also it says Hashem struck all of Mitzraim at once. If so why did they need to wait until morning before they could leave their homes? They should have been able to go out two minutes after midnight? The Vilna Goan answers both of these questions. Hashem took care of the first born himself. But the people who were meant to die on that night he left for the Masches to take care of. So many Egyptians died who were supposed to die on that night. But Hashem didn't let the Masches enter into the Jewish homes even for someone who was meant to die on that night. This is why they had to stay inside all night. The blood was their protection. No one knew whose time was truly up so if they would go outside the Masches would not know if this person was a Mitzri whose time had come or a Jew.

   Why kill the first born? Why was this the final blow. The Meam Loez brings the following story. During the servitude a woman named Rachel was pregnant and working to make bricks. She miscarried her firstborn and the baby fell into the clay. The Egyptians came along and took her and her husband away not allowing them to bury their child. The angel Gavriel came and took the brick containing this baby before the heavenly tribunal. At that moment it was decreed that every Egyptian firstborn would die.

   The Oznayim L'Torah writes that every firstborn, including animals, has a unique spark of Kiddush that cleaves to Hashem. He likens it to a tiny candle that is drawn to a larger flame. As it is drawn near to the flame it becomes extinguished. So too the souls of firstborn were drawn to Hashem as he passed through Mitzrayim, becoming extinguished.

   (12:30) “Vatihi Tzokoh Gedolah B’Mitzrayim-And there was a great outcry in all of Egypt.” The night of Pesach was a night of great miracles. The Zohar writes that while Egypt was awakened to the cries of death in every home, the children of Israel were sedated in their sleep. Hashem did not to wish them to hear the cries. However they were shown a vision in their dreams of all the miraculous events occurring around them. They were able to vividly see more than they would have had they been awake.

   (12:35) “U'Benei Yisroel Asu Kidvar Moshe Vayishalu MeMitzraim Klay-Kesef u'Klay Zahav u'Simolos -The Benei Yisroel did as Moshe said and they requested of the Egyptians silver articles and gold articles and clothing.” We find in the original commandment given by Hashem in (11:2) that there is no mention of clothing? Also we have been told that one of the merits of Benei Yisroel was the fact that they did not change their manner of dress? Especially in light of the fact that the Egyptian dress codes were highly immodest. How could they then borrow clothes? To answer this we must go back to the beginning of Shemos when Hashem first spoke to Moshe on Har Sinai. In posuk 3:22 Hashem informs Moshe that when they will eventually leave Mitzraim they will take the silver gold and clothing. When the actual command was given the clothing was not mentioned. But here in our posuk we see that Benei Yisroel did take the clothing? The Chasam Sofer says that in Mitzraim there was Nitzotzai Kedusha (holy sparks) that deserved to convert to Judaism. These souls were covered in a shell which gave the appearance of the typical Egyptian, thus the term Simolos. When Hashem originally told Moshe about the departure from Egypt he informed him that these souls would be going out with them. When the command was given the word Simolos was left out because we are not permitted to seek out converts. But here in our posuk it is again mentioned and as Rashi writes “They were even more dear to them than the silver and gold, the later something is listed in the posuk the dearer it is.” Obviously these holy souls were dearer to Benei Yisroel than mere earthly riches.

     (12:41) “Vayehe Miketz Shloshim Shoneh V’Arboh Maos Shoneh Vayehe Betzem Hayom Hazeh Yotzu Kol-Tzivos Hashem M’Eretz Mitzrayim- It was at the end of Four Hundred and Thirty years, and it was on that very day that all the Legions of Hashem left the land of Egypt.” (12:51) “Vayehe Betzem Hayom Hazeh Hotzi Hashem es-Benei Yisroel M’Eretz Mitzrayim al-Tzivosom- And it was on that very day: Hashem took the Children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.” Why is the fact that Benei Yisroel left Egypt repeated a few verses later? Why does the Torah switch from the word “Yotzu-Left” to the word “Hotzi-taken out?” The Targum Yonason Ben Uziel explains that on the eve of the first Passover Hashem carried the nation of Israel on wings of eagles to Yerushalayim, to the Temple mount. There they brought the Korbon Pesach and then returned to Mitzrayim and ate the Korbon there. This is the meaning of “Vayehe Betzem Hayom Hazeh Hotzi Hashem es-Benei Yisroel M’Eretz Mitzrayim al-Tzivosom- And it was on that very day: Hashem took the Children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.” That very day being erev Pesach. The verses just prior to this speak of all the preparations for that Korbon and conclude with (12:50) Vayasu Kol-Benei Yisroel Kasher Tzivah Hashem es-Moshe V’es Aharon Kain Asu-All the children of Israel did as Hashem had commanded Moshe and Ahron, so they did.” They did all of the preparations for the Korbon Pesach. It therefore comes out that the first posuk speaks of their leaving (Yotzu) after 430 years. The second posuk speaks of Hashem (Hotzi Hashem) taking them out.

   This answers another question at the end of Parshas Shelach (Bamidbar 15:41) Rashi says the reason we have eight strands of Tzitzis is for the eight days from the leaving of Egypt to the splitting of the Red Sea. But how can this be? There is only seven days from the leaving of Egypt to the splitting of the Red Sea? The answer then is that we count from the eve of Pesach. That first time we left on the “wings of eagles” to stand at the Temple Mount. The eight strands of Tzitzis are a reminder of this miracle.

   But why was it necessary for Hashem to do this? The Ramban explains that the Sefer Shemos is the book of redemption. As such it should have ended with the exodus from Egypt. The building of the Tabernacle could have been included in Vayikra. But the point made is that there can be no redemption without standing at the temple mount and offering the sacrifices to Hashem. Only when the divine presence is finally returned to this world can the redemption be considered complete. This was the message that Hashem had to instill in the nation from the start. This is the real meaning behind the eight strands of Tzitzis being connected to Yetzias Mitzrayim. They serve as a reminder of how Hashem carried us on the eve of our very first Pesach, on eagles wings. As we conclude the third chapter of Shema we embrace the eight strands of Tzitzis kiss them and recite “ Ani Hashem Elokeichem Asher Hotzeitzi Eschem M’eretz Mitzrayim L’yos Lochem L’elokim, Hashem Elokeichem….Emes.

   (12:42) “Leil Shimurim Hu LaShem L’hotzi’om M’eretz Mitzrayim Hu Halaloh Hazeh La’Shem, Shimurim L’chol Benei Yisroel L’dorosom.-A night of guarding it is for Hashem for his taking them out of the land of Egypt it is this night for Hashem guarding for all Benei Yisroel to their generations.” The verse seems to be redundant? Rashi says the first part refers to Hashem waiting for the opportunity to fulfill his words. He was guarding his earlier promise. In the second half of the verse the word leil Shmurim can be read leil Shmorim a night that teaches. L’chol Benei Yisroel L’dorosom- to teach all of Benei Yisroel for generations.

   (10:1) “Vayomer Hashem El-Moshe Bo El-Pharoh Ki-Ani Hichbadity es Leibo- Hashem said to Moshe come to Pharoh for I have hardened his heart.” A question of freedom of choice is always asked regarding these parshas. How could Hashem harden Pharoh's heart? What about free will? One answer could be that after the Egyptians witnessed so many revelations through the ten plagues, there was little doubt about who Hashem is. It was just a question of when and how they would die. Hashem made them refuse to release the Jews to show his glory in many different ways. According to the Ohr Hachaim Hashem really didn't take away Pharoh's free will but rather continually left an opening for him to delude himself that Hashem's power was limited in some way.

   The purpose of bringing these additional plagues was not an act of revenge. Hashem could have done that with a single plague. According to the Gr’a the ten Macos paralleled the Ten Mamorous that created the world. Benei Yisroel had experienced four hundred years of servitude in which the black arts of the Egyptians prevailed. Their experience of the world had been formed by seeing nature through the magic and witchcraft that was prevalent in Mitzraim. Hashem, in a sense recreated the world for Benei Yisroel by performing the Ten Macos over a period of one year. This process, over time, began to sink in. The purpose was not to prolong the suffering of the Egyptians but rather a gradual learning experience for Benei Yisroel. Little by little like the peel of an onion the layers of the Tumah that was Mitzraim were peeled away to expose the truth about the universe. That is why the Ten Macos were in exactly the reverse order of the Ten Mamorous that created the world. The first, Breishis, corresponds to             Macos Bechoros, the killing of the first born. The second, “Let there be light” corresponds to Macos Choshech The plague of darkness.

   There are many things that go into making redemption a reality. However, one thing that is important for the achievement of freedom, both on a national and a personal level, is not something that people think about immediately. Yet, without it, it would have been difficult to maintain the freedom that was achieved, as the journey of the Jewish people makes clear.

In modern psychology, we call it self-esteem. A crucial part of gaining freedom, and certainly a major part of keeping it, is a sense of self-worth. In fact, it was so central to the geulah process that the first eight plagues were designed to increase the self-esteem of the Jewish people, in order to make sure that when the time was ready to leave, the Jewish people would be ready to go.

   In the end, the efforts had failed. It wasn’t that they did not believe Hashem could save them. It was that they did not believe they were worthy of having miracles performed for them. They had been a generation that had been born into slavery, which means they had a slave mentality. The freedom that we take for granted had previously been unknown to them, and it is easier to take a man out of slavery than it is to take the slavery out of a man. Even a year of incredible miracles on their behalf, including being allowed to see the enemy disposed of at the will of G-d, didn’t change that. This is the true meaning of the term Yetzias Mitzraim-The taking out of Egypt. It is the removal of the Egyptian influence that had become such a part of Klal Yisroel.

   The next generation of Jews who entered the Land 40 years later, were a generation born into freedom, though they had been one that had been impacted by a generation born into slavery. Nevertheless, being born or growing up after the slavery was over gave the children of those who left Egypt a fighting chance at believing in themselves, and therefore, a chance at believing in the miracles God wrought to save them.

   The situation is not much different today, even though we have been born into freedom. One of the reasons that we don’t believe that Moshiach could come in our generation is because we cannot see how history today could evolve into such a period of time short of some amazing miracles The people of Israel, as a nation, are freed. Their destiny awaits them at the foot of mount Sinai. But that is not where Sefer Shemos, the Sefer of Geulah, ends. Hashem’s presence must return to this world and the Children of Israel must enter the promised land. Only then will creation have reached its completion. The Ten Plagues served as one of the major stepping stones along the way toward this goal.

   When the numerical value of all of the plagues are added together we arrive at 2834. Which equals the verse in Devarim (30:5) “V’heviacha Hashem Elokecha el H’oretz Asher Yorshu Avosecha V’Yorishtah-Hashem your G-D will bring you to the land that your forefathers possessed and you shall inherit it.

   Why didn't Hashem change Pharoh's heart to free Benei Yisroel instead of hardening it to refuse to free them? As long as we are suspending free will why not make it easy? Hashem wanted there to be no possibility of crediting anyone else for Israel's redemption. If Hashem had made Pharoh's heart soft, people would say that he, Pharoh freed the nation and not credit Hashem. The Genarrah in Avodah Zarah writes that in the future when the nations of the world will be held accountable for their actions they will claim that everything they did was for the sake of the Jews. The bridges they built, the businesses they ran were all to benefit Yisrael. However we have a United Nations. Every vote on every resolution is recorded. The records will show how all of their actions were against Yisrael and they will have no way to escape judgement.

   (10:2) “U'liman Tisapare B'ozney Binchah u'Ben-Binchah - And so that you may relate in the ears of your sons and grandsons.” In the very beginning of this parsha Hashem tells Moshe that he should go to Pharoh since I hardened his heart in order that you should relate “in the ears of your son and grandson” how I dealt with the Egyptians. This is the only makeh where this "telling to your grandsons" is mentioned. The Torah writes “never before had there been such locust and never again afterward.” To this day it is known that throughout northern Africa there comes a swarm of locust every 17 years and they never enter Egypt. For this reason this was the only Makeh that mentions telling over to your sons because its effect is still visible today.

   (10:9) “Vayomer Moshe B’Nareinu U’Bzikneinu-Moshe said with our youngsters and with our elders.” Pharoh questioned Moshe as to who will be leaving for this three day festival? He said “Mi V'Mi Holchim-Who and who will be going.” The Gematria of the words “Mi Vmi”equals Kaleiv and Bin Nun. They were the only two people who survived the forty years in the desert. All of the rest died there. Moshe replied “with our youngsters and with our elders.” In reality this was to be the case for only the old- Bzikneinu (over 60) and the young- B’Nareinu (under 20) would survive the forty years in the desert.

   (10:22) “Vayehe Choshech-Afeilah Bechol Eretz Mitzraim Sheloshes Yomim - And there was total darkness in the entire land of Egypt for three days.” Why did Hashem cause there to be darkness when He could just as easily made the Egyptians blind? Because a person who loses one of his senses, gains greater faculty in the remaining senses. His hearing becomes more attuned, the other senses become heightened. Hashem did not want them to gain from the plagues. However we can learn from here a tremendous lesson. Every negative has a positive. In other words whenever Hashem brings about something that is seemingly bad, we have to look for the good that is there and bring it out. Hashem did not want the Egyptians to gain so He created a darkness that was palatable. The Egyptians could not move for three days. The positive was given to Yisrael. They benefitted by being exposed to the Ohr Haganuz for the duration of the plague. That’s why the verse ends with “U’Lchol Benei Yisroel Hoyoh Ohr B’Moshvosum-For all the children of Israelthere was light in their dwellings.”

   (10:22) “Vayehe Choshech-Afeilah Bechol Eretz Mitzraim Sheloshes Yomim - And there was total darkness in the entire land of Egypt for three days.” One of the reasons for this plague was that at the time there were many Jews who did not want to leave Egypt. They had collaborated with the Egyptians and gained great wealth. Hashem did not want to kill these people openly, since He did not want the Egyptians to say that the Jews were no better than they. Hashem therefore brought darkness upon Egypt so they would not be able to see how these Jews died and were buried.

   Why did so many Jews deserve to die just because they wished to remain in Egypt? According to the Meam Loez Hashem really wanted to kill many Jews during the plague of wild beasts, since animals were one of the Idols they had worshipped. B ut Hashem had mercy on them and spared them. This being the case why did He kill them now? When Moshe took on the mission he asked Hashem (3:11) “V’Chi Otzi es Benei Yisroel M’mitzrayim-In what merit will the children of Israel be taken out of Egypt?” Hashem replied “Tavdun es -Elokim al Hahar Hazeh-They will serve Hashem on this mountain.” on the condition that they will accept the Torah they were redeemed. But the people who wanted to remain in Egypt were those who did not wish to accept the Torah. Not having any merit to be saved, they had to die.

     The Makeh of darkness contained two stages, first the darkness, in which the Jews had the light that was hidden away at the beginning of creation for tzadikim, and then the heavy darkness that made them unable to move. The question is why was this makeh done in two stages? Also why was it only six days instead of seven like the rest of the makos? We see here an amazing thing. First that a nation that spent 210 years as slaves were able to walk into the homes of their oppressors and not remove a single one of their possessions! And second that given the chance to escape not a single Jew moved from his place even though he could have with ease. So the answer is that this makeh could have been only one stage. But since Benei Yisroel did not move in the first three days, Hashem made the Egyptians not able to move in the second three days. That's why the makeh was done in two stages. This is also why they found favor in the eyes of the Egyptians when they came to borrow their valuables. They were so impressed by the fact that not a single item was taken from them.

     We learned that during the Makeh of Choshech there was darkness all over Egypt. But for the Jews there was light. If all of Egypt was dark how could there be light by the Jews? Chazal say that all the plagues that hit the Egyptians also struck the Benei Yisroel. So when there was the plague of darkness it was all over Egypt even by the Jews but only for a moment. If this is true what about the plague of the first born? We must say that they too experienced that plague but were then brought back to life. That's also why it says that Hashem himself did this plague and not an angel. Because we know there are three keys that are in the hands of Hashem, birth, reincarnation and rain. Since they experienced all the plagues they too died for a moment and were brought back to life by Hashem.

   The Sifsei Chachomim write that the Egyptians were blinded by the light of the Ohr Haganuz. This could perhaps explain why there is no mention of the Mateh used to bring this plague. The Mateh represents the turning away from Hashem, the hiding of the Shechina. The root of the word comes from the word Noteh to bend. When a person travels away from his source, he can always find his way back if he is traveling in a straight line. As soon as he makes a turn he no longer can see where he came from. As we say in Aleinu-”Shehu Noteh Shomayim V’yosed Eretz- He bends the heavens and makes the earth.” Hashem hides the heaven (Spirituality) in nature. Here during the plague of darkness Hashem released the blinding light of the Ohr Haganuz, therefore no Mateh was used.

   (10:23) "U'lechol Benei Yisroel Haysa Ohr - For all of Yisrael there was light " How can we say they all had light when 80% died in this plague? The answer is that the same light which was beneficial for the righteous was detrimental for the wicked.

   (10:25) “Vayomer Moshe Gam Atoh Titein B’Yadeinu Zevachim V’Olos-Moshe said even you will place in our hands feast offerings and elevation offerings.” The Ramban asks how could Moshe take animals from Egypt that were used for Idol worship? The Imrei Emes answers that these animals were stolen from Benei Yisroe. Therefore Pharoh’s action had no effect.

   (11:2) “Dabaer Nah B'Aznei H'Am-Please speak unto the ears of the nation.” The Benei Yisroel were asked to please borrow gold and silver from the Egyptians. How could they do this if they had no intention of returning these items? Why does Hashem need to say please for them to accept gold and silver?

   R'Chananel says; Heaven forbid that Hashem would permit them to deceive their fellow man. Rather we see the word for borrowing (shoaloh) can mean asking for a gift so the Egyptians gave them gifts to hasten them to leave. The Malbim says that the gold and silver were to be payment for the land that the Jew possessed. They had fields and vineyards, homes and household articles. What would they do with these things when they were leaving Egypt? In doing so they fulfilled the posuk that says they will save the Egyptians.(3:22) Meaning the Jewish people will save their property from the Egyptians. Sharei Simcha says the gold and silver were payment for the work they did. The din is if you take by force money owed to you it must be returned. But if you receive it as a loan you may keep it even against the will of the lender, since it came into your hands in a legal manner.

   Even more important perhaps is the lesson that Benei Yisrael needed to learn. All of the wealth in the world is only yours to borrow. Hashem entrusts his people to use it for Him but don't assume that it remains in one person's possession forever.

   The word please was used because Benei Yisroel were reluctant to accept monies that would appear as if compensation for the genocide they endured for 210 years. Much like the war reparations offered by Germany after the Holocaust. Many Jews, at that time, refused to accept blood money from the Germans.

   (11:2) “Vayishalu Ish M’ase Ri’ahu-Let each man request from his friend...Vayitain Hashem es Chain H’am B’Aynei Mitzrayim-And Hashem will grant favor in the eyes of the Egyptians” Why did Hashem not instill fear into the Egyptians as He did with the plagues? If He wanted them to hand over the wealth of Egypt He could have made them do so without placing favor in their eyes?

   Rabbi Zev Leff writes that the lesson we are to learn from this is for future generations as well. When Yisroel carries out the will of Hashem, the nations of the world look at us with high esteem. The Egyptians wanted to be able to serve Hashem with the best of this world. Not only did they give them the gold and silver, but royal clothing as well. This provided the additional benefit of giving a nation, born into slavery, the self esteem it would otherwise not be able to obtain. But how could they wear Egyptian clothing? It was one of the three things that Yisroel did not change. It gave them the merit to be redeemed? Not only that but the Posuk says they shall place it on the children? What kind of lesson is that for them?

Rav Leff answers that we can learn from this a tremendous lesson. The clothing was only restricted in Mizrayim. In the desert it was permitted. Klal Yisroel must remain separate. To dress or follow the Egyptians leads to assimilation, as is evident by the number of Jews that died there. But to wear Egyptian clothing in the Midbar was permitted even to the extent of placing them on the children.

   (11:5) "Umase Kol Bechor-All of the firstborn died." The Torah tells us that even the firstborn of the animals died? Why was it be necessary to kill so many firstborn children? We have a tradition from the Zohar that whenever God created some phenomenon which was clearly good, He also created its counterpart, something potentially evil at the same time. Every sacred phenomenon in our world is matched by a parallel phenomenon under the control of the Satan. The latter makes every effort to gain dominance over the former. Since Hashem has declared Yisroel as his firstborn (4:22) the opposing firstborn of evil would exert every effort to frustrate the emigration of the Jewish people from Egypt. This made it necessary to kill all the firstborn in Egypt from young to old, and even from the animal world. Hashem needed to destroy the concept of firstborn being unique in this world. In contrast Hashem commanded that we sanctify our firstborn children. (Ohr HaChaim)

   (12:1) “Vayomer Hashem el Moshe V’el Aaron B’eretz Mitzeayim- Hashem said to Moshe and Aaron in the land of Egypt.” Why is the “Land of Egypt” mentioned here. We know that for the better part of a year Moshe and Aaron were in the land of Egypt? Why reiterate this fact now? Perhaps we can say the following: Benei Yisroel were about to be commanded to prepare the Egyptian idol for slaughter. They would be taking something that they themselves worshipped. How could something used for the lowly act of idolatry be turned into an elevated act of holiness, a mitzvah? The Arizal says that the entire purpose of Klal Yisroel being in Egypt in the first place was to have elevated the Egyptians to the awareness of Hashem. That experiment failed. Instead Yisroel is found teetering on the brink of the 50th level of Tumeh and 80 percent of the population is decimated in the plague of darkness.

   To fulfill 400 years of servitude is out of the equation. It’s time to regroup. Hashem mirrors the Ten Mamoros that created the world into the Ten Macos. He gives his first creation, Time, to Yisroel. Here in Mitzrayim, now at this juncture the turnaround is to begin. That which the Egyptians worshipped will be slaughtered. Specifically in Mitzrayim the mitzvah needed to be performed. The Egyptians used the full moon for their calculations.(Tzror Hamor)

   (12:2)“Hachodesh Hazeh Lochem Rosh Chadoshim-This month shall be for you the first of the months.” Of all the 613 Mitzvos why is this is the first mitzvah? To answer this we must ask another question. If the Benei Yisroel were intended to remain in Mitzraim for 400 years how then could they be taken out after only 210 years? The Gemarrah (Yevamos 46) says “Hekdish Mafgiya Midei Shibud” when someone borrows money from someone and he gives him collateral against the loan, the borrower can’t sell the collateral because it is meshubid/bound to the lender like a lean. But if he is Makdish it, if he sanctifies it, it does become taken out of the possession of the lender. The same was true of Benei Yisroel. Hashem was Makdish them so they were able to leave the shibud. This could be why the first Mitzvah was Rosh Chodesh. The numerical value of the words Rosh Chodesh equals 819. The same value as the word Hikdashty- sanctify to me. (Bamidbar 3:13) By sanctifying Israel they became a holy nation.

   The purpose of the exodus was to raise Klal Yisroel to be Hashem’s nation. To separate them and sanctify them to Him. They were to become a light to all the nations of the world. We see this from the very start of redemption when Hashem tells Moshe to convey His message “Shelach es Ami-Let my people go!” The numerical value of “Shelach es Ami” is equal to Maeir es Ha’Olam Kulo-Light up the entire world.(859)

   (12:3) “On the tenth day of this month they shall take for themselves, each man, a lamb.”

Why four days in advance of the sacrifice? Rashi says in order to check for defects. But that was not the command for future Pascal offerings? However they were to perform Bris Milah on the tenth giving them at least three days to recover before leaving on the fourteenth and offering the Korbon Pesach.

(12:8) “V’Achlu es-Habosor Blayla Hazeh..Umatzos Al-Morrim Yochlu-They Shall eat the Flesh on that night..And Matzos with bitter herbs they shall eat.” For thousands of years Jews have observed this rite, eating matza and maror on Passover eve, either with the sacrifice (during the time of the Temple) or by itself. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the Jews in Egypt ate the Passover sacrifice with maror and matza.

   We are taught in the Mishna Pesachim, that we eat maror as a “memorial” to the Jewish lives embittered by slavery. If this is the case then it indeed seems strange that the Jews in Egypt prior to the Exodus needed a memorial, as if they had already forgotten what it was like to be a slave to Pharaoh in Egypt. Perhaps today we need to eat bitter herbs in order to remind ourselves what the bitterness of slavery was like, but why would the slaves need such a reminder? The reason we eat matzah is also taught in the Mishna the Jews left Egypt in such haste that they did not even have time for their bread to rise. But what about the matza they ate (as commanded) before they left on the night of the very first Seder? Surely there was no haste then? Why eat the matza the previous evening? When the Jews ate matza that evening, what was their religious experience while eating it? The night before redemption, while they were still enslaved to Pharaoh, the Jews smeared the blood of the Korban Pesach on the doors, and then sat down to celebrate the redemption, because at that point they already felt free! Having actually travelled on wings of eagles to the Temple Mount the experience of that first Passover night so transformed them that they were literally able to taste it. The symbols of the Matzoh and bitter herbs were now necessary to bring them back down to earth just long enough to establish the mitzvos of the Seder night for all future generations.

   We can now understand why the Torah begins this section with the commandment concerning time. We are entrusted with the ability to determine the nature of time. Will it be sacred or mundane? We are at the same time taught a powerful lesson: The Jew has the ability to transcend time, to trust in God so completely that the problems of the present are resolved when considered in the larger context of eternity. The ability of the Jews to trust in God was the final act that ushered in the redemption from Egypt. For when a Jew truly trusts in God, he becomes part of the world to come, tasting redemption. (R.Ari Kahn)

   (12:11) "V'ochaltem Oso B'chipozone-You must eat it in haste." Why must it be eaten in haste? Didn't Hashem plan the exact moment for the redemption to arrive? The answer is Hashem who was with them in exile, should not be amongst the idols any longer than needed.

   (12:13) “V’Hoyo H’dam Lochem L’os al Boteichem-And the blood will be to you as a sign upon the houses.” Why would the Jews need a sign? The Oznayim L’Torah writes that the blood will be a sign that this was a house of a victim, a home where a child was drowned or taken to have their blood used for Pharoh to bathe in. This sign served as a symbol for all of Israel that they would no longer be victims, that their long awaited redemption had finally arrived.

   There two questions that need explanation. First, why are there Jews living next door to Egyptians? Weren’t they all living in Goshen? Secondly, why would Hashem need to spare the Jews from the killing of the first born? After Hashem had performed all of these miracles highlighting how the Benei Yisroel are separate from the other nations, after all of the other plagues had passed why would He now kill Jews? The Netziv answers both of these questions in his comment in the Emek Hadovar. When Yakov came down to Mitzrayim with the seventy souls he instructed them to remain separate to prevent assimilation. However, after all of the sons of Yakov passed awayYisroel began moving away from Goshen and the assimilation began. Those Jews who were assimilating with the Egyptians deserved to be killed through the attribute of justice. But the attribute of mercy spared them. Thats why the verse “Posach Hashem al Ha’Pesach” uses the name of Hashem that denotes mercy. “Posach Hashem al Ha’Pesach”equals 433 the same as Zu Geulah Sheleimah.

   (12:17) "Ushmartem Es Hamatzos-You shall safeguard the Matzos" Rashi quotes R.Yoshia as saying "Don't read it as Guard the Matzos but rather guard the Mitzvos. The question is how does he know to say this? The Shelah Hakodesh answers from the extra word "Es" which is an acronym for Al Tomru.

   (12:22) “ Lo Saytzu Ish Mipesach-Beiso Ad-Boker - Let no man go out of the door of his house until morning.” Rashi says that when the “Masches” is let loose to destroy he can't differentiate between the righteous person and the evil person. The question is the Haggada tells us that this makeh, of the first born, was performed by Hashem himself. So how can Rashi say that the angel of death was let loose? Also it says Hashem struck all of Mitzraim at once. If so why did they need to wait until morning before they could leave their homes? They should have been able to go out two minutes after midnight? The Vilna Goan answers both of these questions. Hashem took care of the first born himself. But the people who were meant to die on that night he left for the Masches to take care of. So many Egyptians died who were supposed to die on that night. But Hashem didn't let the Masches enter into the Jewish homes even for someone who was meant to die on that night. This is why they had to stay inside all night. The blood was their protection. No one knew whose time was truly up so if they would go outside the Masches would not know if this person was a Mitzri whose time had come or a Jew.

   Why kill the first born? Why was this the final blow. The Meam Loez brings the following story. During the servitude a woman named Rachel was pregnant and working to make bricks. She miscarried her firstborn and the baby fell into the clay. The Egyptians came along and took her and her husband away not allowing them to bury their child. The angel Gavriel came and took the brick containing this baby before the heavenly tribunal. At that moment it was decreed that every Egyptian firstborn would die.

   The Oznayim L'Torah writes that every firstborn, including animals, has a unique spark of Kiddush that cleaves to Hashem. He likens it to a tiny candle that is drawn to a larger flame. As it is drawn near to the flame it becomes extinguished. So too the souls of firstborn were drawn to Hashem as he passed through Mitzrayim, becoming extinguished.

   (12:30) “Vatihi Tzokoh Gedolah B’Mitzrayim-And there was a great outcry in all of Egypt.” The night of Pesach was a night of great miracles. The Zohar writes that while Egypt was awakened to the cries of death in every home, the children of Israel were sedated in their sleep. Hashem did not to wish them to hear the cries. However they were shown a vision in their dreams of all the miraculous events occurring around them. They were able to vividly see more than they would have had they been awake.

   (12:35) “U'Benei Yisroel Asu Kidvar Moshe Vayishalu MeMitzraim Klay-Kesef u'Klay Zahav u'Simolos -The Benei Yisroel did as Moshe said and they requested of the Egyptians silver articles and gold articles and clothing.” We find in the original commandment given by Hashem in (11:2) that there is no mention of clothing? Also we have been told that one of the merits of Benei Yisroel was the fact that they did not change their manner of dress? Especially in light of the fact that the Egyptian dress codes were highly immodest. How could they then borrow clothes? To answer this we must go back to the beginning of Shemos when Hashem first spoke to Moshe on Har Sinai. In posuk 3:22 Hashem informs Moshe that when they will eventually leave Mitzraim they will take the silver gold and clothing. When the actual command was given the clothing was not mentioned. But here in our posuk we see that Benei Yisroel did take the clothing? The Chasam Sofer says that in Mitzraim there was Nitzotzai Kedusha (holy sparks) that deserved to convert to Judaism. These souls were covered in a shell which gave the appearance of the typical Egyptian, thus the term Simolos. When Hashem originally told Moshe about the departure from Egypt he informed him that these souls would be going out with them. When the command was given the word Simolos was left out because we are not permitted to seek out converts. But here in our posuk it is again mentioned and as Rashi writes “They were even more dear to them than the silver and gold, the later something is listed in the posuk the dearer it is.” Obviously these holy souls were dearer to Benei Yisroel than mere earthly riches.

     (12:41) “Vayehe Miketz Shloshim Shoneh V’Arboh Maos Shoneh Vayehe Betzem Hayom Hazeh Yotzu Kol-Tzivos Hashem M’Eretz Mitzrayim- It was at the end of Four Hundred and Thirty years, and it was on that very day that all the Legions of Hashem left the land of Egypt.” (12:51) “Vayehe Betzem Hayom Hazeh Hotzi Hashem es-Benei Yisroel M’Eretz Mitzrayim al-Tzivosom- And it was on that very day: Hashem took the Children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.” Why is the fact that Benei Yisroel left Egypt repeated a few verses later? Why does the Torah switch from the word “Yotzu-Left” to the word “Hotzi-taken out?” The Targum Yonason Ben Uziel explains that on the eve of the first Passover Hashem carried the nation of Israel on wings of eagles to Yerushalayim, to the Temple mount. There they brought the Korbon Pesach and then returned to Mitzrayim and ate the Korbon there. This is the meaning of “Vayehe Betzem Hayom Hazeh Hotzi Hashem es-Benei Yisroel M’Eretz Mitzrayim al-Tzivosom- And it was on that very day: Hashem took the Children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.” That very day being erev Pesach. The verses just prior to this speak of all the preparations for that Korbon and conclude with (12:50) Vayasu Kol-Benei Yisroel Kasher Tzivah Hashem es-Moshe V’es Aharon Kain Asu-All the children of Israel did as Hashem had commanded Moshe and Ahron, so they did.” They did all of the preparations for the Korbon Pesach. It therefore comes out that the first posuk speaks of their leaving (Yotzu) after 430 years. The second posuk speaks of Hashem (Hotzi Hashem) taking them out.

   This answers another question at the end of Parshas Shelach (Bamidbar 15:41) Rashi says the reason we have eight strands of Tzitzis is for the eight days from the leaving of Egypt to the splitting of the Red Sea. But how can this be? There is only seven days from the leaving of Egypt to the splitting of the Red Sea? The answer then is that we count from the eve of Pesach. That first time we left on the “wings of eagles” to stand at the Temple Mount. The eight strands of Tzitzis are a reminder of this miracle.

   But why was it necessary for Hashem to do this? The Ramban explains that the Sefer Shemos is the book of redemption. As such it should have ended with the exodus from Egypt. The building of the Tabernacle could have been included in Vayikra. But the point made is that there can be no redemption without standing at the temple mount and offering the sacrifices to Hashem. Only when the divine presence is finally returned to this world can the redemption be considered complete. This was the message that Hashem had to instill in the nation from the start. This is the real meaning behind the eight strands of Tzitzis being connected to Yetzias Mitzrayim. They serve as a reminder of how Hashem carried us on the eve of our very first Pesach, on eagles wings. As we conclude the third chapter of Shema we embrace the eight strands of Tzitzis kiss them and recite “ Ani Hashem Elokeichem Asher Hotzeitzi Eschem M’eretz Mitzrayim L’yos Lochem L’elokim, Hashem Elokeichem….Emes.

   (12:42) “Leil Shimurim Hu LaShem L’hotzi’om M’eretz Mitzrayim Hu Halaloh Hazeh La’Shem, Shimurim L’chol Benei Yisroel L’dorosom.-A night of guarding it is for Hashem for his taking them out of the land of Egypt it is this night for Hashem guarding for all Benei Yisroel to their generations.” The verse seems to be redundant? Rashi says the first part refers to Hashem waiting for the opportunity to fulfill his words. He was guarding his earlier promise. In the second half of the verse the word leil Shmurim can be read leil Shmorim a night that teaches. L’chol Benei Yisroel L’dorosom- to teach all of Benei Yisroel for generations.

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