The pessukim mention that Moshe and Aharon came to Pharaoh and requested to send out the nation and let them travel a distance of three days to bring korbanos to Hashem. Pharaoh responded, “למה משה ואהרון תפריעו את העם ממעשיו לכו לסבלותיכם.” Rashi explains that תפריעו means to distance and separate. Meaning, Pharaoh said, “Why should you distance and separate them from their labor, they will listen to you and think to rest from work, go back to your labor.
The Ramban says that the entire tribe of Levi was not included in the slavery of Mitzrayim as we see from Moshe and Aharon who were able to come and go without permission. The reason is because each nation had a custom that their scholars and people who would guide and teach the proper way to its nation would be freed from any subjugation. Therefore Pharaoh left the tribe of Levi who were the wise and scholarly men of Bnei Yisrael to be freed from labor. Now that they came to send out Bnei Yisrael, Rashi explains that Pharaoh said to Moshe and Aharon, stay out of things, go back to the work that you have in your houses.
Onkelos translates תפריעו as תבטלון from the lashon of ביטול חמץ, to annul. The following passuk states, והשבתם אותם מסבלותם and you will annul them from their labor. Meaning, Pharaoh said, “Why should you cause them to cease from labor, go to your labor.” The Ramban explains that Pharaoh said, “Since you are from shevet Levi who are free from labor, you are saying let us go and bring korbanos. Therefore, you too should do the labor as Bnei Yisrael do.”
The Mesilas Yesharim explains: Pharaoh intended on keeping Bnei Yisrael so busy that they would not have a second to think about what they are doing and therefore not be able to figure out how to change the situation. This is hinted in the words of Pharaoh “תכבד העבודה… ויעשו בה ואל ישעו בדברי שקר.” Onkelos translates this as, “Strengthen the labor and be busy with it and do not be involved with stopping.”
The Mesilas Yesharim continues that this is exactly the plot and advice of the yetzer harah. The yetzer harah keeps a person so busy that he does not take a moment to think about his spiritual wellbeing, and check whether he is up to par with his avodas Hashem of learning Torah and doing mitzvos. The yetzer harah knows that a person can easily improve by stopping and thinking about his actions.
May Hashem help us learn from Pharaoh’s wicked advice to take the moment to stop and think about our avodas Hashem and bring ourselves to the next level awaiting us!