Magen David

The Sefer Torah Recycling Network


Moshe Burt

Magen David

InstantHebrew.com: Learn to Read Hebrew in just 2 Hours with online video course


 Do you need help in developing a word of Torah for your Simcha?

If so, SimchaVort can help. Kindly send an email to Moshe Burt telling me what the Simcha is, who it's for and what Parsha it's in. In exchange for your kind donation of at least $180 to The Sefer Torah Recycling Network, I'll be glad to help with ideas such as was done in the case below;

Shemos and the Hardening of Pharoh's Heart
By Moshe Burt

Having followed Divrei Torah which appear on Arutz-7's website, a family recently requested comments from me on Parsha Shemos to assist their daughter in preparing a Drosh on the Parsha.    The mother writes that her daughter is particularly interested in Hashem's hardening of Pharoah's heart.

I responded with the following;

I want to tell you that the first place in Torah actually referring to the hardening of Pharoh's heart is in parsha Va'eira.  

It is, however, possible that the very first hardening of Pharoh's heart may well have taken place in Parsha Shemos.  What I am referring to is the discussion as to whether or not Pharoh actually died and was replaced by a new Pharoh "who did not know Yosef" and "He said... Behold, the ... Children of Israel are more numerous and stronger than we."  

The Sefer "The Midrash Says" cites a Gemora (Sota 11a) which cites 2 different views.  One contends that the king who ill-treated the Jews was actually a new king.  The other asserts that he was the same Pharoh as previously, but who merely revised his policy.

 The Midrash (See "The Midrash Says" Volume 2 - Shemos, pages 4 -7)  renders a story that The Mitzrayim feared the immense growth of the B'nai Yisrael, fearing that they would join with Egypt's enemies to oust the Mitzrayim from the land.  They were enraged at Pharoh's sympathy for the Jews which was an expression of gratitude for Yosef's actions in saving Egypt during the years of famine. 

As a result of Pharoh's feeling a debt of gratitude to Yosef, he was ousted from power and yet held to his attitude for some 3 months in which he suffered shame and humiliation for refusing to harm them.    After that passage of time, he decided, shall we say pragmatically, or more precisely in the name of his self-interest, "that it was more profitable for him to comply with the demands of the nobility and the people."

In a political move to reassert his power, after the 3 months he announced that he wished to resume his position and had formulated a new policy towards the Jews. The Pharoh who then ascended to the throne was not the same man who had been ousted.  Midrash renders him a "new" king, cold and cruel, and determined to put an end to the "Jewish plague."  He claimed to know nothing of Yosef and later, in Perek 5, posuk 2  asked Moshe and Aaron; "Who is Hashem that I should heed his voice and send out Israel?  I do not know Hashem, nor will I send out Israel."

Thus I view this first "hardening of the heart" as pragmatic (defined as "practical") on Pharoh's part and purely in his self-interest;  the abandonment of principle in the name of the preservation of his own power.    We see today the reality of politics and so-called pragmatism applied at the expense of principle in governments throughout the world, including in Israel and in the US.

But with a view toward who truly runs the world, it seems evident that this new, hardened Pharoh with his cruelty to and enslavement of the Jews, whether the same Pharoh, or a successor, was placed on the scene to hasten the day of redemption of B'nai Yisrael from Mitzrayim.

Having written the above, I will bridge between this discussion and Pharoh's "hardening of the heart" in Parsha Va'eira.   In Perek 3, posuk 7, Hashem said, "I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their  taskmasters; for I know their sorrows."

The Sochachaver Rebbi, R'Avraham Bornstein z'l (Torah Gems, Volume 2, page 28) says on "I have surely seen the affliction of My people..." that in all of their subsequent exiles, the Jews were dispersed to various places.  Only in Egypt were they all in one place, in Goshen.  The reason for this difference is that all of the other exiles came after the giving of the Torah, that the Torah unites the Jews wherever they may be.   The exile of Egypt, however, was before the giving of the Torah and had the Jews been dispersed in various places, the people would not, Heaven forbid, have survived intact.

This point is important to bear in mind in as I move on to Parsha Va'eira and a discussion of the reasoning regarding Hashem's hardening Pharoh's heart throughout the Makkos (plagues) and later, in bringing his Army after the B'nai Yisrael in BaMidbar by the Yam Suf.

R'Avraham, quoted above is better known by the name of his Sefer, Avnei Nezer whereas his son, R'Shmuel Bornstein z'l, quoted below, became Sochachaver Rebbi upon his father's death and is well known for his series of S'forim entitled "Shem Mishmuel."

There is one more point to bring out which appears in the very last posuk (Perek 6, posuk 1) of Parsha Shemos.  Here, Hashem says to Moshe, "Now you will see what I will do to Pharoh..."  Shem Mishmuel brings that so long as the issue was solely the redemption of B'nai Yisrael, one could argue that they were not worthy of being redeemed.  But when Pharoh argued "I do not know Hashem, nor will I send out Israel," it became a matter of the honor of Hashem and the sanctification of his name.   There could be no argument, the redemption had to come." (Torah Gems, Vol.2, page 39)
In Parsha Va'eira we learn about the first 7 plagues and the hardening of Pharoh's heart.

Sefer Shemos, Parsha Va'eira, Perek 7, posukim 3-5 state, "I will harden Pharoh's heart, and I will multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.  And Pharoh will not listen, and I will set my hand against Egypt.  I will take out ... My people, the B'nai Yisrael, from ...  Egypt with great judgement.  And Egypt will know that I am Hashem when I raise my hand against Egypt, and I will bring out the B'nai Yisrael from among them."

Shem Mishmuel writes that it is clear that the Exodus didn't require these 10 plagues.

Once Pharoh refused the first request to allow Klal Yisrael to leave, Hashem could simply have flattened and annihilated Egypt with one mighty blow.   But this would not have achieved the main purpose of the Exodus, not the destruction of Egypt, but  a demonstration of Divine power which left no room for doubt that Hashem controls the world.   The more miracles wrought in Egypt, the greater and clearer the realization that Hashem, the G'd of Israel, was in charge of His world.   (Sefer Shem Mishmuel, Parsha Va'eira, page 119).  This concept was borne out in Yithro's reaction to the miracles performed by Hashem on behalf of Klal Yisrael;  "Now I know that Hashem is greater than any other deity..."   

In short, the plagues and Pharoh's feigned "teshuva" after each followed by the "hardening of Pharoh's heart" was orchestrated by Hashem  as a means of bringing forth many more Divine wonders in order to bring about teshuva amongst the Egyptians,  to show both B'nai Yisrael and the other nations who is truly in charge of the world and to mold, unify and solidify Klal Yisrael as a Nation which cleaves to Hashem.


To view other Divrei Torah posted to the Arutz-7 site and in other places, click here and here.

Donors in the US, please make tax deductible donation checks out to " Jerusalem Education Fund", with a note on both the Memo line of the check and on the envelope "Mark Burt & Sefer Torah Recycling Network" and mail to " Jerusalem Education Fund, c/o Gross, 20 Rolling Road, Wynnewood, Pa. 19096. Be sure to include your address. Upon request, a tax-deductible receipt for your donation will be mailed to you.  Be sure to include your address.  Upon request, a  tax-deductible receipt for your donation will be mailed to you.

For the convenience of all donors, you can now donate on-line through the use of your paypal account and/or your credit card.  Simply copy the email address; <mosheb@sefer-torah.com>, then click on the , paste the copied email address into the "Recipient's email" field, enter the amount of your donation, type in your desired note and send. No paypal account, no problem! Just send your donation via your credit card.

Donors in Canada, please make your tax deductible checks out to "JBRASS" (BN#864426911RR0001) and mail to; "The Sefer Torah Recycling Network", 46 Meadowbrook Road, Apt. 6, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6B 2S6. Please mark on the envelope (and if possible attach a stick'em memo to the check) saying "Mark Burt & Sefer Torah Recycling Network." Upon receipt, a tax-deductible receipt for your donation will be mailed to you.




  To subscribe to the Sefer Torah Network Newsletter online, click here.

The Sefer Torah Recycling Network is proud to announce affiliations with Artscroll and Soncino publishers as well as Ahuva Judaica. Now you can help to finance our mission simply by clicking on the links above or on the banners below to purchase S'forim or Judaica online from these merchants.

It is anticipated that
The Sefer Torah Recycling Network  will soon announce affiliation with at least one other Judaica publisher as well as with online merchants of a number of other Judaica products.

Sefer Torah Network picks for the season:

Rabbi Berel Wein's Pirkei Avos: Teachings for Our Times 

Selichos: Pocket Nusach - Ashkenaz
By Rabbi Avie Gold

Kosher By Design Picture-perfect food for the Holidays and every day By Susie Fishbein 

Moshe Burt,
Rechov Nachal Dolev #34/12,
Ramat Beit Shemesh 99000





The Ultimate Website On Israel's Security

The JewishWeb


Link to The Sefer Torah Recycling Network:  

Magen David The Sefer Torah Recycling Network Magen David

Just type in the following code:

<a href="http://www.sefer-torah.com"><img alt="Magen David" src="http://www.sefer-torah.com/images/magen.gif" border="0" align="middle" width="60" height="64">

<b>The Sefer Torah Recycling Network</b> <img alt="Magen David" src="http://www.sefer-torah.com/images/magen.gif" border="0" align="middle" width="60" height="64"></a>


Website authored and designed by R'Mordechai Makor

orbwebsThe Sefer Torah Recycling Network is priviledged to be hosted by alefhost.com , the fast-growing Web Host of Jewish Religious organizations, business and e-commerce sites.

copyright 2003

Sefer Torah, Sifrei Torah, Sefer Torah Recycling, Sefer Torah repairs, Torah scrolls, Torah Scroll Restoratation, Sefer Torah restoration, Sefer Torah transfer, Israel, Eretz Yisrael, Mokom Torah, Mekomot Torah, chessed, mitzvah, tzedaka, donations, raise funds, Shuls, Israel, Eretz Yisroel, Yeshivas, Yeshivot, Israeli Yeshivot, chizuk, Ahavat Yisroel, Sofer, Sofrim, Sofrus, Synagogues, Synagogues in Israel, Beit Knesset, Israeli Batei Knesset, Israeli cities, Israeli towns, needy locations in Israel, Memorials in Israel Mission: Acquires donations of Sifrei Torah and raises funds to restore them to a Kosher state for transfer to needy locations in Israel.