Haggadah-Random Thoughts & Ideas V
I found these ideas in a notebook. They are not mine, and I have no idea whose they are; but they are wonderful: This discussion deals with “asking for goods from Egypt, placing them upon your children, emptying out Egypt.”
You cannot force people to love you, but you can command respect according to your worth. If there is respect, there will be no contempt; act in a dignified manner and it will precipitate respect.
The Egyptian discovered suddenly that the slaves of yesterday were charming today. During the year of negotiations, they found Israel charming!”
The man, ish, Moshe was great in the eyes of the officials and the common people. This respect built up.
There are three aspects in the change of feeling of the Egyptians towards the Jews.
(1) They saw Moshe’s love and tenacity for the people. When Moshe was with the Almighty, he was the defender, with the people he was the accuser.
(2) Humans pass the right to take vengeance upon others for wrongs committed upon them (to refuse to punish criminals is to turn society into a jungle). Two purposes of punishment are to punish for the crime, and secondly, a catharsis to rehabilitate. However, the catharsis rarely works.
Consider what would have been if Pharaoh had declared, “All right, go ahead,” and the Jews had walked out. How about the years of slavery, the killing of the children etc., all would have been forgotten. They would have walked out with merely a thank you. This would have been the greatest tragedy!
However, this depended on the Almighty. That is why it is written, “He will not let you out until I smite Egypt with all my wonders.” Otherwise, it would have been comical. It was a lesson that human blood which is spilled cannot be forgotten. As long as people are not punished for crimes, there cannot be freedom. G-d wanted to teach Pharaoh that the Jews are an abandoned race.
(3) The conduct of the Hebrews themselves! During Greek and Roman eras, the populace was in great fear of slave rebellions. The rebellions were bloody as exemplified in more modem times, such as in France and in Russia. The feudals were always haunted by such occurrences, for slaves rebel at the worst times of crisis.
Pharaoh’s own officers said, “Don’t you see that the land is ruined?” His own prestige was in trouble because his officers spoke to him abusively – a far cry from the autocracy he held previously. During the three days of darkness, they (Israel) could have destroyed the entire populace, certainly could have could have robbed the treasury. They, certainly, had many grievances. There would have been no resistance. But instead, they left it to G-d. Who taught them? Moshe!
Consider during the night of the exodus, they could have taken vengeance. Instead, what did they do? They ate the korban pesach and sang Hallel..
Thus, after the plague of darkness, the Egyptians realized how great Moshe and the people were. The people of Egypt started to change towards Israel before the requesting of jewels. It states that the women borrowed from their women friends because they were closer, and knew one another more intimately. After the ninth plague, however, we find man borrowing from his friend.
Yad Chazaka (a strong hand) is the plague dever (smiting the cattle). It ruined the agriculture and the economic resources, such as horses and cattle. But the emptying of Mitzrayim took away the riches, leaving the land bankrupt, and showing that you cannot prosper from slavery.