מוֹפֵת – Provide a wonder for yourself

Hashem told Moshe that if Pharaoh should ask for a מוֹפֵת (wonder) that it was G-d that sent him that he should lay down his staff and it would become a snake. The midrashim explain that Pharaoh had a book of the names of various gods and when he was presented with a different god he would look up in his book to see if the god existed. When Moshe informed him that it was HaShem, יקוק that sent him and he could not find the name in his book he asked for a wonder to prove that there was power in the one who sent him (Rashi).

The Sefer HaChinuch amongst others brings the 6 constant mitzvoth that a Jew is meant to be receptive to constantly to the extent that the Chayei Adom holds that one is meant to think in them and accept them even prior to saying birchas haTorah in the mornings. In discussing the 3rd mitzvah, Yichud HaShem, the Chayei Adom brings our pasuk, ‘Provide a wonder for yourself’. He writes that you will never find the loshon of מוֹפֵת by Klal Yisroel but only in reference to other nations. Regarding Klal Yisroel we see the word signs.

When considering the mitzvah of Yichud HaShem, G-d’s oneness we mean to the exclusion of everything else, not that there is 1 G-d but that HaShem is so intrinsically One that nothing else exists. When we are discussing signs and wonders it appears that a wonder on the surface of it contains power in and of itself, however when talking about a sign we recognise that a sign only points to its true power and essence.

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