Thoughts from Kollel KLAL


Pharaoh requests from Moshe and Aharon to daven to remove the frogs. Moshe responds, “התפאר עלי למתי אעתיר לך.” Rashi explains התפאר means glorify or boast, as it states “היתפאר הגרזן על החוצב בו will an ax feel glorified over the one who chops with it?” It is impossible for an ax which is inanimate to be better than the person who is using it to chop. So too Moshe said to Pharaoh, “be glorified over me.”  See if you will be able to boast that you asked me something which is too great for me to do. Now I will daven for you that the frogs should be destroyed when you want. Test me whether I will fulfill my word to remove the frogs exactly at the time we set.

The Nefesh HaGer explains, Moshe said, “I can do anything because I am the messenger of Hashem, I call out in the name of Hashem and He answers me. Although both of us were born to human beings, you cannot brag over me. You are asking to remove the frogs from within your stomach which you yourself can’t do, obviously I am greater than you. If so, how do you have the audacity to be brazen faced against Hashem and say ‘who is Hashem that I shall listen to His voice, I don’t know Hashem and I will not send out Bnei Yisrael.’”

Pharaoh requested for the frogs to be removed the next day and Moshe responded, “as you request, למען תדע כי אין כה’ אלקינו in order that you shall know that there no one like Hashem our G-d.” Hashem will show you there is no one like Him.

Onkelos explains “התפאר עלי למתי אעתיר לך” differently, “Ask for yourself strength, give for yourself a time when I shall daven for you for the frogs to be destroyed.” Meaning, ask for a miracle to be performed with Hashem’s strength, pick a time when you want the frogs to be removed. The Nefesh HaGer infers, Onkelos does not translate התפאר as boast, but rather “ask for yourself strength,” as it is common for Onkelos to translate the nimshal, the intent. Also, it states about Moshe that he was more humble than any other person, therefore it is difficult to say he was boasting and bragging about his abilities.

Onkelos describes Hashem’s actions in Mitzrayim a number of times throughout these parshiyos with the lashon “גבורא, strength.” For example, earlier in the parsha it states “ונתתי את ידי במצרים” and “בנטותי את ידי על מצרים,” which Onkelos explains as “the smite of My strength against Mitzrayim.” Rashi also explains with the lashon ‘strength’, “this time I will let them know about My hand and My strength and they will know that I am Hashem.” Also in Parshas Beshalach it states “וירא ישראל את היד הגדולה” which Onkelos translates as “and Yisrael saw the strength of the great hand.” The Nefesh HaGer explains the lashonגבורא  reflects ישועה, salvation, as it states “בגבורות ישע ימינו with the strength of the salvation of His right hand.” Hashem showed His might in order to save us and make Himself known to people.

Rashi in Parshas Va’eschanan explains Hashem will let Yisrael know about His strength through people testing Him. An example is התפאר עלי, test me and see whether I will be able to do it. The actions of Hashem in Mitzrayim show His strength and were for our salvation.

The passuk ends “רק ביאר תשארנה only in the river will they remain.” Onkelos translates as “only that in the river will remain.” The Yein Hatov explains the frogs which were in the river before the makkah will remain, not that frogs will gather there. Others quote Onkelos as “only in the river will remain.” This reflects that the frogs will remain in the river, and they will never enter Mitzrayim. The Seforno explains the frogs in the water will remain in the water and not ascend upon dry land at all.

May we recognize Hashem’s great strength and remember that there is no one like Him!

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