Thoughts from Kollel KLAL


The Gemara (סוטה יב:) brings Pharaoh made three decrees against Yisrael. First he said, “אם בן הוא והמתן אתו, if it is a boy, kill him.” Rashi explains, first Pharaoh relied on the midwives and did not appoint guards. When that didn’t work he said, “כל הבן הילוד היארה תשליחוהו, any boy that will be born, throw him into the water.” Rashi explainsתשליכוהו reflects that he appointed guards to throw the boys into the river. Lastly he also made the decree apply to his nation. Rashi explains the words “לכל עמו, to his entire nation” reflect that Pharaoh also decreed on his entire nation, they too were included in this decree. This is as it states “כל הבן הילוד, any boy which will be born,” and it does not state “הילוד לעברים, that which will be born to the Jews.” The astronomers saw that the savior of Yisrael was going to be born that day and he would be struck by water, but they did not know whether he was from Yisrael or from Mitzrayim. Therefore Pharaoh decreed on everyone to throw their sons into the river until the day that the savior of Yisrael was thrown in and then the astronomers saw that he was struck.


Onkelos translates the words כל הבן הילוד, as “any boy that will be born ‘to the Jews’ throw him into the river.” This infers that there was not a decree against Pharaoh’s nation to throw their boys into the river. The Nesina LaGer brings b’shem the Midrash Rabbah, the Mitzri’im did not want to accept the last decree. They had no doubt that a Mitzri would not be the one to save the Jews. The passuk states “ויצו פרעה לכל עמו , and Pharaoh commanded his entire nation,” meaning Pharaoh told them about a new decree and requested for them to be involved and help him throw the Jews into the water. No proper king would make a decree against his nation which would cause upheaval.

The Nesina LaGer suggests, the Gemara which brings Pharaoh made the decree on his nation sides with the opinion that Pharaoh was a new king. He did not yet build a relationship with the nation and did not care about the complaints of the Mitzri’im. Therefore he decreed to throw all the boys, since this would kill the savior of Yisrael. Onkelos however is of the opinion that Pharaoh was an old king who already built a relationship with his nation and cared about what the Mitzri’im would say. Therefore he certainly would not decree for his nation to throw their boys in, but rather only the Jewish boys.

Pharaoh’s plan was to make sure that the savior of Yisrael should not be saved. The saying goes “mentch tracht un
G-t lacht
; people plan and G-d laughs.” The end result of this decree was that the daughter of Pharaoh was the one who saved Moshe Rabbeinu, and Pharaoh himself raised him. It was through Pharaoh’s decree that Bas Pharaoh found and brought Moshe Rabbeinu, the savior of Yisrael, into Pharaoh’s own mansion! The Steipler zatzal says, from here we see that all of people’s doings and tricks won’t change what was decreed in Shamayim by even a tiny bit. Even more, the very action that one does to bring out his own personal desire will be the action to bring out the decree of Hashem! Anything that a person plans will not help him to change, add, or subtract from that which was decreed on Rosh Hashanah, besides for davening, teshuva, or a zechus which can change a decree.

The passuk states “וכאשר יענו אתו כן ירבה וכן יפרץ” which Onkelos translates in present tense, “and as they would pain them, so they would increase and so they would be strong.” In proportion to the Mitzri’im’s efforts with trying to eradicate Yisrael, the exact opposite occurred, Yisrael increased. No one can stop Hashem’s decree from coming into fruition. The Kli Yakar adds b’shem the Midrash, Pharaoh was afraid about the increase of Bnei Yisrael and he said, “פן ירבה, lest they will become many.” Ruach ha’kodesh responded, “You say ‘lest they will become many’? I say ‘כן ירבה וכן יפרץ, indeed they will become many and strong.’” Even what the Mitzri’im thought to do, Hashem caused the exact opposite to happen.

May Hashem help us recognize that everything that happens is with His ratzon and anything that a person does will lead to what Hashem decreed.

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