Pearls of Rashi – Vo’eiro

In this week’s Torah portion, Vo’eiro, we read of the first few plagues which Hashem brought upon Egypt. These plagues ultimately culminated in the exodus from Egypt. The plagues caused that Paroh and the populace of Egypt not only allowed the Jews to leave; they actually begged them to go, and to take all of the wealth of Egypt with them.

The second of the plagues was frogs. The Torah tells us how this plague began[1]. “Aharon stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frog came up and covered the land of Egypt.” That is what the original Hebrew says; “the frog came up,” rather than “the frogs came up.”

Each word of the Torah is precise, and (obviously) grammatical. Why does the Torah use the singular form, i.e. “the frog?” Obviously, there were many frogs. Rashi explains that in truth “It was one frog, and as the Egyptians hit it, it split into many swarms of frogs.”

This teaches us a tremendous lesson in the service of Hashem. Rashi says elsewhere[2], that “If you have started a Mitzvah, finish it. This is because the Mitzvah is only attributed to the one who completes it.”

Aharon caused one frog to come up, as commanded by Hashem. There were millions of frogs that swarmed from it, as G-d wanted. If the Mitzvah is only attributed to the one who completes it, why did Aharon not see to it that he completed the Mitzvah? If there were any more frogs left to swarm, one would think that he should completed this down to the very last frog!

The explanation is, that the fact that a Mitzvah can only be attributed to the one who completes it, only applies to Mitzvos that benefit others. It is true of Mitzvos such as helping one’s fellow, lending or giving money to one who is in need, or the like.

The opposite is true regarding Mitzvos which are designed to punish one’s fellow – such as the plagues. If there is even the slightest doubt that the punishment may be complete, the one who began the Mitzvah may not continue. It is prohibited to punish one any more than he needs.

Aharon thought that perhaps the one frog was enough, so he was not permitted to continue – just in case that was sufficient punishment.

This shows us how careful we must be to share only kindness with all of our fellows, thereby paving the road for Moshiach.

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 16, Page 48-58

Mrs. Brocha bas Reb Tzvi Nechemiah Hacohen O.B.M. Cohen
Passed away on 8 Shevat, 5778
May Her Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
מרת ברכה בת ר’ צבי נחמי’ הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטרה ביום ח ‘שבט, ה’תשע”ח
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
יוצא לאור ע”י בני משפחתה שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 8:2.

[2]. Parshas Aikev, Devorim 8:1.

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