Israel Forever

For the week ending 31 January 2004 / 8 Shevat 5764

Inviting a Plague

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

In response to the demand repeatedly made both by Israel and the USA for the Palestinian Authority to forcefully dismantle the Palestinian terrorist organizations, the Arafat puppets serving as prime ministers have declared that they will not initiate a civil war with their Arab brothers.

The need for such a civil war to eliminate the danger which Arab terrorism poses not only to Israel but to the Palestinians themselves has a historical source in the Torah portion we will be reading this Shabbat. The ten plagues inflicted by Heaven on the Egyptians to coerce them into freeing their Hebrew slaves were climaxed by the plague which claimed the lives of all the Egyptian firstborn. When King David (Tehillim 135:10) calls upon us to give thanks to G-d "Who smote Egypt with their firstborn" the simple meaning is this tenth plague itself. The Midrash, however, interprets it as a reference to what preceded the plague.

When the firstborn learned that Moshe had warned Pharaoh that further procrastination in obeying the divine command "to let My people go" would result in the death of all of them, they demanded of their leaders that they free the Hebrews. When their demand was rejected a bloody civil war ensued with "Egyptians being smitten by their firstborn".

That abortive revolt failed to save the lives of the firstborn who all perished on the eve of our liberation. It should serve, however, as a lesson to the Palestinians that unless they are courageous enough to fight against their own people such as the Hamas and Jihad terrorists they are inviting a plague upon themselves.

Only a genuine initiative on the part of the Palestinian leadership will bring prosperity to their people and will solve the problem of security for Israel forever.

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