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Section: Parshas HaShavua   Category: Quick Vort
Parshas Va'eira: 3 Answers To Paroh's Enigmatic Reaction To Kinim
When Mitzrayim became infested with the dreaded Kinim or lice, Paroh's Chartumim could not match this Maka with their own sorcery.  They admit defeat and say "Etzba Elokim Hi", it is the work (or finger) of Hashem.  Without batting an eye or even asking Moshe to get rid of the lice, Paroh's heart hardened.  At this point Hashem did not yet interfere with his free will according to most Meforshim.  It seems his reaction was because of what the Chartumim said, not in spite of it.  Do you have an explanation for this or have you heard anything?

Rav Shimon Sofer the son of the Ksav Sofer in Shir Maon answers that Paroh believed that Moshe made the Kinim through Kishuf, and he was superior to his sorcerers who could not manage this feat.  The Chartumim were embarrassed that they were out done by Moshe and claimed to be the best in the world, so they said that it must have been Hashem, but nobody really believed this, including Paroh.  When the pasuk says his heart became hard and he did not listen, it means to the sorcerers who claimed that only Hashem could perform this maka.

Anonymous Answered - The Ibn Ezra says that the Chartumin said it was a Makas "Elokim", meaning a punishment from the Heavenly powers ruling over Mitzrayim and not Hashem.  Paroh insisted all along he doesn't know any Hashem, only the powers that run the world.  That is why he did not let them out.

DC From Pheonix answered - I heard a few things. Pharaoh never felt that his own life was threatened by the plague, and therefore, he was able to shut his eyes to the obvious truth. The thought of his people being infested with lice did not disturb him so much, since it was quite common for peasants to have lice. Then he rationalized. Why hadn't he been warned about this plague as he had been warned about the first two? Surely, Moshe had not been aware of the coming of this plague, which proved that everything that had happened was caused by natural phenomena controlled by the gods and the stars, not the G-d of the Jews.
RELATED ARTICLES:10 Makos  Kinim  Paroh  Parshas Va'eira

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Visitor Comments: 1

mm, bearsville, 2009-01-23 06:26:06
I heard it said by the Zohar and Or HaChaim that when Yosef was there, Paroah had never heard of the ineffable name of G-d revealed to Moshe. To Paroah and his 'magicians' the aspect of Elokhim were understandable as 'nature'. But once Moshe revealed the name Hashem, which was beyond their comprehension, the 'magicians' knew they were dealing with something WAY beyone them, and Paroah, who of course felt he was on the same level of 'Elokhim' couldn't take that Elokhim was but a minute aspect of Hashem. Ego. Thus our own Egos = Mitzrayim and when we are trapped in the 'worldly things' we must be liberated by reaching higher to Hashem.

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