Thoughts from Kollel KLAL


The passuk states “ ויהי חשך על ארץ מצריםand it will be darkness upon the land of Mitzrayim,” and the passuk ends וימש חשך”.” Rashi explains that the night will darken more than the standard darkness. The word וימש is from the word אמש, night, and it is as though it states ויאמש, missing the א’, since its pronunciation is not so recognizable.

Onkelos translates the words ויהי חשך…  וימש חשך as, “And it will be darkness… and the extreme darkness of the night will be removed.” Rashi explains that the word וימש means הסרה, to remove. When the day starts and light shines, then the makkah of darkness will begin.

Why did the makkah of choshech start in the morning?

The Nefesh HaGer explains that this is in order to have complete days for the makkah and to enable the Mitzri’im to anticipate the daylight coming and instead have darkness. The Rabeinu Bachyeh explains that had the makkah started in the evening the Egyptians might have thought that the night lasted three days straight and then the miracle would not be publicly noticed. Therefore, only after the darkness of night left and it was visible by everyone that it was day, did the makkah of darkness come.

Rashi however is bothered by Onkelos’s translation because his sequence of events is first וימש חשך- the darkness of night will be removed and only afterwards ויהי חשך-the makkah of darkness will come. However, the passuk first states ויהי חשך, the makkah will come and only afterwards וימש חשך, the darkness will be removed.

The Maharal answers that Onkelos means the natural darkness of night will be removed and the miraculous makkah of darkness will set in, clearly being noticeable as it was thick and tangible. The words ויהי חשך mean that there was a miraculous makkah of darkness, and וימש חשך comes to explain that this thick and tangible darkness has no connection to any standard darkness of night.

Rabbi Hartman explains the Maharal, that the miracle set in after the removal of night, but not specifically in the morning. Rather, it was made clear as the blue sky that this was an arrival of a different miraculous darkness.

May we learn from Hashem’s miracles that Hashem is King and in control of the entire universe.

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