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בס"ד

Just Between You and Me

Rabbi Sari Laufer

Congregation Rodeph Sholom

January 9, 2016/28 Tevet 5776

Parashat VaEra

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  1. (יז) כִּ֣י אִם־אֵינְךָ֮ מְשַׁלֵּ֣חַ אֶת־עַמִּי֒ הִנְנִי֩ מַשְׁלִ֨יחַ בְּךָ֜ וּבַעֲבָדֶ֧יךָ וּֽבְעַמְּךָ֛ וּבְבָתֶּ֖יךָ אֶת־הֶעָרֹ֑ב וּמָ֨לְא֜וּ בָּתֵּ֤י מִצְרַ֙יִם֙ אֶת־הֶ֣עָרֹ֔ב וְגַ֥ם הָאֲדָמָ֖ה אֲשֶׁר־הֵ֥ם עָלֶֽיהָ׃ (יח) וְהִפְלֵיתִי֩ בַיּ֨וֹם הַה֜וּא אֶת־אֶ֣רֶץ גֹּ֗שֶׁן אֲשֶׁ֤ר עַמִּי֙ עֹמֵ֣ד עָלֶ֔יהָ לְבִלְתִּ֥י הֱיֽוֹת־שָׁ֖ם עָרֹ֑ב לְמַ֣עַן תֵּדַ֔ע כִּ֛י אֲנִ֥י יְהוָ֖ה בְּקֶ֥רֶב הָאָֽרֶץ׃ (יט) וְשַׂמְתִּ֣י פְדֻ֔ת בֵּ֥ין עַמִּ֖י וּבֵ֣ין עַמֶּ֑ךָ לְמָחָ֥ר יִהְיֶ֖ה הָאֹ֥ת הַזֶּֽה׃

    (17) For if you do not let My people go, behold, I will incite against you and against your servants and against your people and in your houses a mixture of noxious creatures, and the houses of Egypt will be filled with the mixture of noxious creatures, as well as the land upon which they are. (18)And I will separate on that day the land of Goshen, upon which My people stand, that there will be no mixture of noxious creatures there, in order that you know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth. And I will make a redemption between My people and your people; this sign will come about tomorrow." '

  2. (יח) (יח~יט)  ושמתי פדות בין עמי ובין עמך, שאפילו בארץ מצרים אם ימצאו החיות איש יהודי לא יזיקוהו ויאכלו המצריים, כדכתיב (תהלים עח מה) ישלח בהם ערוב ויאכלם, וזהו לשון פדות, כטעם נתתי כפרך מצרים כוש וסבא תחתך:

    I will make a distinction between My people and your people: Even within Egypt, if the animals found a Jew, they would not harm him--but would eat the Egyptians, as it is written (Psalms 78:45): God inflicted upon them swarms of beasts to devour them. The word used here for "distinction," is the language of 'p'dut', the root that means "to redeem."

  3. (יט) ושמתי פדת. כטעם הפרש. וכל פדיון קרוב מזה הטעם

    I will make a distinction: This too will be a sign within a sign: for the swarms to be able to distinguish between My people and your people. (The "distinction" applies to those of the Israelites who were living among the Egyptians, not those who lived separately in Goshen, which was "set apart" in v. 18)

  4. (יח) והפליתי. יש אומרים שהוא חסר אל''ף. והנכון שהיא מבעלי הה''א. וטעמו אפרש. ומדרך הסברא עתה החל פרעה להקל מעבודת ישראל. כאשר ראה שהפריש השם בין ישראל ובין מצרים פחד לעשות להם רעה. כי צורך יש לו לשלחם לזבוח פן יפגענו בדבר. הלא תראה כי עתה נתן להם רשות לזבוח בארץ

    But on that day, I will set apart... There are those who say that the word is missing an "alef," and I will explain why. It was obviously this setting apart that was responsible for Pharaoh's first concession (see 8:21). Once he saw that God had made a distinction between the Israelites and the Egyptians, he feared to do them any evil...

  5. Abarbanel on Exodus 8:19

    I will make a distinction: The etymology of the word, from the verb "redeem" implies that from this moment the Israelites ceased to serve the Egyptians as slaves.

  6. Aviva Gottlieb Zornberg, The Particulars of Rapture, p. 129

     

    The world of Mitzrayim, of Egypt, dominated by an unhearing, unspeaking Pharaoh, becomes the environment of imagination. The narrative of redemption repeats constantly, "at all times." 

     

    ...In the Chasidic perception, Egypt has not been defeated. "To articulate the past historically," writes Walter Benjamin, "does not meant to recognize it 'the way it really was' (Ranke). It means to seize hold of a memory as it flash up at a moment of danger." Egypt is the eternal "moment of danger." To tell of release and freedom--the narrative of hope--a continuing dialectic is necessary....The story of the Exodus, the eternal tension between faith and dread, is destined to be retold continuously, as it is reenacted continuously.

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