Parashat Va’eira (And I appeared) Exodus 6:2-9:35
Maftir: Numbers 28:9-15
Haftarah: Isaiah 66:1-24
This Shabbat begins the new month of Shevat, and therefore there is a special Maftir and Prophetic reading that relates to the new month. This week’s parashah is the second in the book of Exodus and the preparation for the Passover begins. The first seven plagues are located in this week’s reading. The third plague is lice and in the midst of this plague, Pharaoh’s sorcerers remarked, “It is the finger of G-d.”
Some of the rabbinical commentators understand this phrase as lessening the significance of this plague. They say, “It was with a mighty hand that HaShem brought the Children of Israel out of Egypt”. Rashi however, takes a different position. In his commentary he states that the significance of this phrase is, “This plague is not by means of sorcery, but from THE PLACE“. The term, “THE PLACE” is a rabbinical way of speaking about the fact that G-d is omnipresent. The phrase “THE PLACE” means that HaShem is located every place at all times.
The idea which the sorcerers were expressing was that their magic had limitations, while the One True G-d has no limitations. Such a statement is very similar to what Yeshua said, “With G-d, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Pharaoh paid no attention to what these men said. Certainly they were not godly men, but because they practiced sorcery, they were able to discern what was of man or demons, and what was from HaShem. Pharaoh’s problem was a most common one; he simply did not pay attention to the things of G-d. He did not have any spiritual discernment. This is certainly a problem which plagues many leaders today. Although they have risen to a position of great stature, they fail to see G-d at work in situations around them.
When was the last time you discerned the Holy Spirit working in and around you? Most fail to notice Him, because they do not expect Him to be doing anything in their lives. HaShem could have brought the people out of Egypt in one plague, so why was there ten? He wanted to capture the attention of Pharaoh and the rest of the Egyptians. It is important to remember that Moses was not instructed to tell Pharaoh, “Let My people go”, but literally, “Send forth My people“. In other words, HaShem is not just about accomplishing His will; He wants you and me to participate in His will with Him. He wants this so He can bless us and that we can experience a greater intimacy with Him.
Pray this Shabbat for greater spiritual discernment.
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