Parshat Shemot

שמות פרשת

In שמות, א פרק, י פסוק it says, “לו נתחכמה הבה”, “Come, let us act wisely to it.” In this scene פרעה is getting nervous that ישראל בני is becoming many and strong, therefore, he states that the מצרים need to act wisely, otherwise ישראל בני will multiply and might wage war against the מצרים and join their enemies.

What does פרעה mean when he says, “לו נתחכמה הבה”? “נתחכמה הבה”, how? “לו”, to what or to who?

רש״י says, whenever the Torah uses the word “הבה” it is an expression of permission. פרעה is telling the מצרים to prepare themselves, to weaken ישראל בני. רש״י also states that when the Torah says “לו נתחכמה”, it should have used the word “להם”, “to them”, the plural pronoun, instead of the word “לו”, “to it”, the singular pronoun. רש״י resolves this grammatical issue saying that in the previous פסוק it says “ישראל בני עם”, which is plural, but in actuality, the “לו” refers to ישראל בני as the nation, which is singular. פרעה is saying that they need to act wisely when dealing with ישראל בני. The Rabbis interpret this phrase as פרעה saying, “Let us outsmart ה׳, the one who saved ישראל בני. Let us kill them with water, because ה׳ already promised that He would never bring another flood on the world again.” רש״י interprets the מצרים‘s logic as the מצרים not understanding that ה׳ would not bring a flood on the entire world, but that He could bring a flood onto a single nation, meaning the מצרים.

The Amar N’kei and Siftei Chachamim further explain רש״י. They say that the מצרים knew that ה׳ punishes through the concept of מידה כנגד מידה, that one’s punishment reflects the sin he committed. The מצרים thought that since ה׳ promised to never bring another flood on the world, that ה׳ restricted Himself from punishing people who sinned through water.

We can learn two lessons from the מצרים’s faulty logic. One, is that no matter what and how much knowledge you think you have, you cannot defy G-d. Additionally, we learn that although our enemies may think that they can destroy us, we have ה׳ on our side, and therefore, they will never be successful.

Student studying in Midreshet Harova