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Dvar Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

Dvar Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states regarding the Plague of Blood:

“And the Lord said to Moshe, say to Aharon: Take your rod and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their streams, their rivers and their pools, and over every gathering of their water, that they may become blood; throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone” (Exodus 7:19).

Why is Aharon (Moses’ brother) and not Moses commanded to initiate this plague?

Rashi, one of the greatest Biblical commentators, cites the Midrash Shemot Rabbah to answer this question. It explains that Aharon, rather than Moses, was chosen to initiate the plague of blood because the water had protected Moses when he was cast into it as an infant in a basket. It would, therefore, not be proper for Moses to smite the water which helped save him.

How can this be? Water is an inanimate object which does not have free will. When something floats in water and does not sink, it would not occur to us to give thanks to the water for its buoyancy. Nevertheless, we learn from this verse that if a person derives pleasure from an object, he should show his gratitude by being careful not to cause harm or damage to the object, even though it would not suffer pain. As the Talmud (Bava Kama 92b) states: “If you drank water from a well, do not throw stones at it”. Although this advice is basically meant as a metaphor for people who have given you something, the literal meaning should not be ignored.

Since this is true concerning inanimate objects, all the more so we must show gratitude towards people who have shown us kindness. Unfortunately, there is a saying “No good deed goes unpunished”. People often times not only do not show gratitude, but they return indifference or bad for good. We must make it one of our personal goals in life to always think “who has helped me and who can I thank today.” Let your attitude be gratitude. Not only will you be happier, but so will those around you.

2020 Sandton Shul Batmitzvah Ceremony