Thoughts from Kollel KLAL


Rabeinu Bachya says that by each of the makos there were many miracles. What were the miracles that Hashem performed by the makah of shechin?

The passuk states that Hashem said to Moshe and Aharon “קחו לכם מלא חפניכם פיח כבשן וזרקו משה השמימה לעיני פרעה, take for yourselves fistfuls of soot, and Moshe shall throw it toward the heavens before Pharoah.” Rashi explains פיח כבשן refers to coals which were bellowed, from that which was burnt, and when the wind blows the ash, it causes it to fly around. Rashi points out that anything thrown with power, is thrown with one hand. Midrash Tanchuma explains that one miracle was that when one shoots an arrow upwards it will go at most 100 amos, here, however it reached to heavens, all the way to the כסא הכבוד! Rashi brings another miracle, one fist of Moshe miraculously held inside it “מלא חפניכם, your full fistfuls” which was Moshe’s own fistful, plus Aharon’s fistful, a total of two fistfuls in one fist of Moshe!

Rashi brings another miracle that a fistful size which had such a small amount of dust, was sufficient to be able to spread out and scatter over the entire land of Mitzrayim, as it states “והיה לאבק על כל ארץ מצרים, and the dust will be over the entire land of Mitzrayim.” Midrash Tanchuma adds that in general a person takes a kav and scatters it in 4 amos, whereas here, Moshe’s fistful was scattered over an area of 400 parsah by 400 parsah. The Ramban explains that this is similar to that which it states by the klalos in Parshas Ki Savo, “יתן ה’ את מטר ארצך אבק ועפר, Hashem will make the rain of your land be as dust and dirt.” In times of a drought, when the dew falls, dust often rains with it. The dust came down on the people and the animals in the entire Mitzrayim which caused them to grow shechin and boils since it was hot and it burned. The dust also blew into people’s houses, and no one was able to be saved and escape, even those inside, from being struck with shechin. The Ramban suggests that dust from the soot struck the air which then also produced dust, and this brought the shechin.

Rabeinu Bachya adds that another miracle was with the makah itself, that the soot turned into shechin which sprouted on the people and on the animals. Rashi explains that “shechin” means warmth, which caused the growth of boils sprouting on the body of people and animals. The Rashbam says that they were full of pus and moistness. The Gemara brings that the shechin in Mitzrayim was moist on the outside and dry on the inside. So too, by the klalos in Parshas Ki Savo it states, “יככה ה’ בשחין מצרים… אשר לא תוכל להרפא, Hashem will smite you with shechin of Mitzrayim… which cannot be healed.” This shechin was seriously dangerous, it stuck onto a person until he ended up dying.

The passuk states “and the sorcerers were not able to stand before Moshe because of the shechin.” Simply, they were in so much pain that they couldn’t even stand up. However, the passuk states “לפני משה, before Moshe,” which infers that they could stand up before other people. The Ramban explains that the sorcerers were embarrassed and ashamed that they had boils and they wanted to cover it up and hide. They couldn’t avoid the shechin; they were not able to save themselves from being struck. Therefore, they did not come to the king and didn’t appear before Moshe – rather, they remained locked in their houses.

Let us learn from the makos that Hashem runs the world and is in charge of everything, and may we serve Him.

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