Parshat Bo

The Kli Yakar comments on the following words of the Chumash, which are written in the haggadah: “elu eser hamakot…rav yehuda haya notein bahem simanim, dezach, adash, beachav.”

Why do we have these signs? To help us remember the makot? Why is it divided in this way?

We have these signs to discuss principles of faith. This is brought down in a discussion between Pharoh and Moshe.
Pharoh explains he believes in no such G-d that we talk about.

“I won’t let Bnei Yisroel go. There is no G-d. And even if there was, he must have created the world and put rules to allow it to function, and then left.”

The makot were sent as a reply to Pharoh, to attest that there is a G-d who rules over everything, everyone, who is present in this world.

Dezach stands for the first three makot, dam, tzfardea, kinim, or blood, frogs and lice. The makot of blood and frogs were done through the yeor, the Nile, which is the Egyptian’s G-d to say, look our G-d is more powerful than yours. It rules over it. The Mitzrim could not perform kinim, lice, which was a statement to the Egyptians that there is a G-d ruling. Certain things cannot be done through man’s hands.

Adash represents arov, dever, shchin, or wild animals, sickness of animals and boils.
Arov and dever clearly showed that a G-d exists because it affected only the Egyptians and not the Jews.
Shchin represents G-d’s personal presence in everyone’s life. It affected every single Egyptian, individually. Hashem is still present. He did not just create the world and then leave the rest up to nature.

The last four makot are represented in the sign, beachav- barad, arbeh, choshech and bechorot, or hail, locust, darkness and death of the first born sons.

Each of these makot were done to display G-d’s ability to change nature as a counter-argument to Pharoh’s beliefs.
According to Rashi, the hail in makat barad was made out of fire and ice combined, in complete defiance of nature. It was a “nes betoch nes,” a miracle within a miracle.

With makat arbeh, locust, there was so much of it that the swarms covered the sun and turned day into night. This, too, was clearly not possible by the laws of nature.

In addition, the plague of choshech, darkness, was six days of darkness. For three of them the Egyptians were surrounded by such thick darkness that they could not move.

And lastly, with makat bechorot, the death of the first borns, G-d involved himself and no one else. It could not be controlled who was chosen to die.

This was all to stand as a testimonial “lemaan teidah ki ein kamoni baaretz”, to make known that there is no one like me in all the land.

Hashem is supreme ruler of everything on earth and only he knows what events will transpire each and every day. He involves himself in the life of every Jew and collectively in the lives of the non-Jews. The makot showed pharoh this fact and helped him see the truth.

Student Studying in Baer Miriam