There is nothing as exciting as a good question. A good question challenges us to think deeper and search for an answer. In fact, the Gemora relates that in order to test a scholar’s abilities they would challenge him to pose a good question. Last week, two people asked me the same question. Since the answer is relevant to this week’s parsha too, I would like to share my answer with you in the hope of encouraging more questions!

At the beginning of this week’s parsha (and twice in last week’s parsha) Moshe is instructed to warn Pharoh about the next plague. The phrase that is used is בא אל פרעה - “Come to Pharoh”. The question is, since Hashem was sending Moshe to speak to Pharoh surely it should say לך אל פרעה - go to Pharoh not come to Pharoh?

Rabbeinu Bachya offers the following explanation: we know that the plagues came in three series of three; the first two had a warning whilst the third did not. The first of those warnings was always given outside and the second was given inside Pharoh’s palace. בא doesn’t mean come, rather enter and was a command to warn Pharoh in his palace. This week’s parsha opens with the eighth plague and therefore the warning was to be given inside Pharoh’s palace.

Pharoh was too arrogant to admit that Hashem was in charge. Ruling over the vast land of Egypt and living in a lavish palace made him feel omnipotent. The plagues were intended to teach him a lesson, therefore the warnings for the plagues were specifically alternated between his two power bases.

 

It is said that an Englishman’s home is his castle, but always remember that Hashem is the king!

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