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ויאמר ד’ אל משה אמר אל אהרן קח מטך ונטה ידך על מימי מצרים על נהרתם על יאריהם ועל אגמיהם ועל כל מקוה מימיהם ויהיו דם בכל ארץ מצרים ובעצים ובאבנים

God said to Moshe, “Say to Aharon, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your arm over the waters of Egypt: over their rivers, over their canals, over their reservoirs, and over all their gatherings of water, and they shall become blood; there shall be blood throughout the land of Egypt, and in the woods and in the stones.

Pharaoh had brazenly refused God long enough, and it was time for some blood to flow. And so, God has Aharon wave his staff over the waters of Egypt, and turns all the waters of Egypt into blood. Bloodthirsty as the Egyptians may have been, this sudden sea-change in their water supply was hard for even them to swallow. Simply put, the bloodthirsty were now just plain thirsty. Not to mention dirty. (Bloodbath is one of those words that get lost in transfusion)

Just as the notion that this plague was all about denying the Egyptians drinks congeals in our mind, however, we are hit with the following verse:

There shall be blood throughout the land of Egypt, and in the woods and in the stones.

While not having drinks is one way to avoid getting stoned, we remain perplexed by the meaning of blood “in the woods and the stones”. What exactly was blood doing in the wood and stones, when it was only water that turned to blood?

While Rashi contends that “wood and stones” refers to water in wooden and stone utensils, Netziv insists that this verse is to be taken literally. The moisture, says Netziv, running through the trees and even present within rocks, turned visibly red as well.

While the Egyptians were surely hard-bitten people, we have no record of them chewing wood or ingesting stone (although that might explain the pyramids…. after all, even a mummy has to eat).

Why, then, would God make the moisture in the trees and rocks turn into blood? After all, fracking was not yet discovered, blood is thicker than oil, and there was therefore no way any Egyptian could have possibly extracted that moisture for drinking either way?

Apparently, the idea of this plague ran far deeper than simply keeping Egyptians thirsty.

Hydration, you see, is the lifeblood of Creation. And yet, water is a shapeless, colorless, and tasteless entity.

The epitome of disguise.

All of Creation hides the Creator. And yet its very source, water, hides Him like no other.

It hides Him so well, in fact, that Egypt never saw Him. Egypt saw a lifeless, characterless universe, presided upon by a tasteless, colorless, shapeless chemical compound.

And that’s why they were up the creek.

God, however, was giving them a chance to see something that should have blown them out of the water.

All water turned to blood. Creation suddenly lit up with character, revealing itself for the organic entity that it is. There was suddenly meaning to everything alive. The universe was revealed as one enormous body of Revelation, pulsating with a uniform Godly lifeblood, carefully stitched together with a singular DNA thread running through its all, intent on perpetuating the mission of its Creator.

Alas, God gave them the chance, yet they were too thirsty to drink it all in, too drunk to thirst for its soul-quenching message.

Are we?

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1 Comment

  1. I have a sense of humour. I am very alive to, and appreciative of, a good pun. If I were looking for some comedy, witty writing or a good laugh, this article on Vaeira would fit the bill perfectly. However, when I am looking for Torah, for the dvar H-m, from a serious and respectable Torah institution, I want to read something which is written in language befitting the holiness, profundity and dignity of Torah. This is not the forum for clever witticisms etc which seem more designed to amuse than instruct. I regret to say that I find this style – in relation to Torah specifically – to be damaging to the feeling of respect and awe that should be given to Dvar H-m.
    Good Shabbos

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