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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Yonah Burr

Vaera: Taking Things to Heart

הירא את דבר ד' מעבדי פרעה הניס את עבדיו ואת מקנהו אל הבתים: ואשר לא שם לבו אל דבר ד' ויעזב את עבדיו ואת מקנהו בשדה

Whoever among the servants of Pharaoh feared the word of Hashem chased his servants and his livestock to the houses; and whoever did not take the word of Hashem to heart - he left his servants and livestock in the field

This week’s parsha begins the process of Hashem revealing His existence and power to the world in general, and to the Jewish People in particular. Each ‘plague’ and miracle, was perfectly calculated to demonstrate a specific lesson regarding the fundamentals of Yiddishkeit.

We often think to ourselves, if Hashem would only show me an open miracle, if only I would be able to see for myself, how inspired I would be! It would certainly be easier for me to be a good jew; to overcome my temptations, and to do the things I’m supposed to do.

The Ramban tells us otherwise; the well-known Ramban at the end of parshas Bo, after all the ten plagues are completed, teaches us an important lesson. Hashem does not perform open miracles for every generation; the purpose of the miracles was to teach us, and to refute all the mistaken ideologies of that time; but it is our job to internalize these lessons, and to ultimately see Hashem’s Hand in everything that occurs. “through the open miracles, we should come to the recognition that everything is a miracle, there is no nature or natural order [that runs by itself] at all.”

The purpose is not to continuously receive inspiration through miracles, but rather to take the inspiration, internalize it, and remain inspired; to be self-motivated.

From this week’s parsha we learn another thing as well; even if someone sees open miracles but does not take it to heart, he will remain uninspired! The miracle alone will do nothing without our effort to be inspired by it.

How is it possible that even after seeing the previous miracles the Egyptians still didn’t bother to bring in their livestock and property to save everything from the impending hail? Was there any question in their mind’s that it would occur?

The possuk tells us it wasn’t due to a lack of belief- rather it was due to ‘not taking it to heart’ simply not allowing the facts to impress them or to make an impression!

It’s two sides of the same coin; if we internalize the lesson of the miracle, we will remain inspired. And if we don’t internalize the lessons, even open miracles will not help.

May we learn through these parshios of miracles and remain inspired to become better and better!

Have a wonderful Shabbos.

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