There's a comment that Rashi makes in this week's parsha, that when I first read it, left me speechless. And I'm not often speechless :)

In this week's parsha, Vaera, we see the first 7 of the ten plagues: 1) Nile turns to blood 2) Frogs infest Egypt 3) Lice 4) Wild Beasts 5) Disease killing all the cattle 6) Boils 7) Hail

At the very beginning of this story, before the first plague, Hashem speaks to Moshe and tells him to go and tell Pharaoh that unless he frees the Jewish people He will turn the Nile into blood. But Hashem doesn't tell Moshe to go and see Pharaoh at the palace, He tells him to "Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes out to the water..." (Shmot 7:15)

So here's the Rashi that blew me away. Rashi explains why he was going out to the water in the morning. He was going to the bathroom. Why so far away from his five-star on suite bathroom? Because he had declared to his nation that he was a god, and had told them that he didn't need to go to the bathroom at all, ever. So to maintain this image he would get up every morning at the crack of dawn and sneak out to the Nile to do his business.

This is mind blowing. If Pharaoh declared himself a god, you can bet that he believed it himself. This wasn't some charade. And yet he knew that he needed to go to the bathroom every morning. To imagine that a nation could believe a human to be a god is mind boggling enough. But think of those humans, not just Pharaoh by the way ( E.g. many Roman emperors declared themselves to be gods), who declared themselves to be gods. Imagine the false pride and self-deceit necessary to believe in something so false and clearly untrue.... And yet they did.

Rav Soloveitchik wrote that everyone believes in God. Just for some people that god is money, for some it is a car, and for some it is themselves. What Hashem is trying to teach Pharaoh with all these plagues is that of his gods, money can't buy happiness, a car can get smashed up in a second, and everyone needs to go to the bathroom.

The only real God is Hashem.

Shabbat Shalom!.

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