The Living Torah is a weekly publication distributed in and around North West London. Written by members of Hasmonean High School's Sixth Form programme - we aim to bring you divrei torah for your Shabbat table each and everyweek.

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Thursday, 14 January 2010

Me too!

After Hashem sends down the hail that destroyed all the vegetation of Egypt, Paroh calls for Moshe and Ahron and says "ה' הַצַּדִּיק וַאֲנִי וְעַמִּי הָרְשָׁעִים" This is generally translated as– Hashem is righteous, וַאֲנִי וְעַמִּי הָרְשָׁעִים – and I and my people are wicked. But this pasuk can be split up in a different way, which results in a change in its meaning; !ה' הַצַּדִּיק וַאֲנִי -וְעַמִּי הָרְשָׁעִים – Hashem is righteous - as am I! וְעַמִּי הָרְשָׁעִים – and it is my people who are wicked!" . Paroh is faking innocence – and attempting to side with Hashem, and claims it is his people whom are wicked, not he! In addition, if we take out וַאֲנִי, the roshei teivos (initials) of the remaining four words spell Hashem’s 4 letter name. The וַאֲנִי is in the center of this; it is interrupting the shem Hashem. He is claiming parity with and within G-d's Name!

Paroh continues and tells Moshe that he will allow bnei yisrael to go; and Hashem stopped the hail, yet Parah did not keep his word, and did not allow them to leave. Hashem says to Moshe in the first pasuk of next week's sedra "בֹּא אֶל פַּרְעֹה כִּי אֲנִי הִכְבַּדְתִּי אֶת לִבּוֹ וְאֶת לֵב עֲבָדָיו לְמַעַן שִׁתִי אֹתֹתַי אֵלֶּה בְּקִרְבּוֹ - The Lord said to Moses: "Come to Paroh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, in order that I may place these signs of Mine in his midst" (10:1).

There is a problem with this that is not evident from a translation. Why does Hashem say כִּי אֲנִי הִכְבַּדְתִּי? The אֲנִי is superfluous , as הִכְבַּדְתִּי is in the first person, so there must be more to it than meets the eye. Literally, כִּי אֲנִי הִכְבַּדְתִּי means because of אֲנִי I have hardened – Hashem is saying that it is because of Paroh’s arrogance and usage of the word אֲנִי in 9:27 that הִכְבַּדְתִּי – I have hardened his heart so that שִׁתִי אֹתֹתַי אֵלֶּה בְּקִרְבּוֹ. Except, אֹתֹתַי can mean My signs or My letters. Hashem hardened Pharoah’s heart so that he can see ‘My letters’ in his midst. Which letters are we talking about? The letters that make up the name of Hashem which Pharoah had previously attempted to infiltrate!

So in essence, because of אֲנִי, I have hardened their hearts to show my letters ie G-d's name, with all His power, and showing it in their midst, showing how brilliant the Torah is, that it has so many levels of interpretation by just reading the words again.

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