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[Dvar Torah] Va'era

In this week's Parsha G-d reminds Moshe of his promise: that the sons of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, shall inherit the land of Israel. He commands Moshe to say to Pharaoh: “Let my people go”.  Following the dramatic meeting with Hashem, Moshe went to visit Pharoah and demonstrated G-d’s power by turning Aharon’s staff into a serpent.  Pharaoh’s heart stiffened, he didn't listen to Moshe, which led to the seven out of the ten plagues striking Egypt: water turning to blood, frogs, lice, wild animals, livestock pestilence, boils and hail.

In G-d’s promise to Moshe, G-d used four different expressions to describe the promises, in a well known passage also mentioned in the Haggadah. "I will bring you out from the suffering of Egypt and I will save you from enslavement and I will deliver you…and I will take you for me as a Nation, and I will be for you, the L-rd".

According to those  expressions, the Sages established the four cups of wine we drink during the Seder in Pesach. Those cups are also called ‘Four cups of thanksgiving’. Sages taught us to notice and be thankful for every little thing that G-d did for the Israelites during the Exodus until He brought us to the Holy Land. 

Being thankful was the key for the liberation from Egypt. It was not by chance that Moshe was chosen to be the deliverer; Moshe was conscious of the good for both the living and the inanimate as we can see in our Parsha, since the Nile protected Moshe - it was not struck by him, but instead was struck by Aaharon.

Rabbi Alex Israel takes this further and brings a Talmudic passage related to this idea: “Rava said to Rabba bar Mari: What is the source of the saying: “If there is a well that you drank from, do not throw a stone into it”? He replied: “… You shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you were a stranger in his land” (Deuteronomy 23:8). Since you dwelled in their lands, you may not cause them harm” Although the Egyptians enslaved them, the Israelites may not hate or harm them, because the Egyptians gave homes to the people for 400 years!

This Parsha teaches about the value of showing gratitude. Being thankful and showing gratitude makes us notice all the good we have around us, small and big. We should appreciate it. As a result, we will become more peaceful within ourselves and towards others. 
Shabbat Shalom.

Mrs. Meital Aronov, Jewish Studies Teacher