A Dangerous Sleep

January 20, 2015

Humans have the ability to know the truth on the one hand and fully deny reality on the other. When the plague of the first born hits Paroh and the Egyptians in this week's parsha, the verse tells us that Paroh "got up." Rashi comments "from his bed." What is the lesson here? Rashi is emphasizing Paroh's myopia. On the eve of the 10th plague: the plague of the first born, Paroh, a first born son himself goes to sleep.

 

Paroh had been punished with 9 plagues. Of the 6 plagues that Moses warned him about, all of them were fulfilled E-X-A-C-T-L-Y. The other three came with no warning, but were stopped by Moses after Paroh begged. Moses warns Paroh that the last plague will occur around midnight and fleshes out all of the details for him.

 

And at exactly at midnight, every detail is fulfilled.

 

Except Paroh is in his bed. He gets up panicked to find Moses and ask him to leave Egypt immediately. 

 

In his bed? Did he really go to sleep the night of the plague? 

 

The wealthy Jews of Germany in 1936 stayed on in their homes. Despite the warning signs and mounds of evidence pointing to dangerous times ahead, they did not (and could not) absorb the reality. Our Sages tell us that the only way we could really do something wrong is if we blind ourselves from the truth and deny the consequences.

 

How often do we "go to sleep" only to be rudely awakened by the consequences of our actions?

 

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