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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Shemot: Parashat Bo: Roots

Contributed by: R. Ezra Mizrahi

In this week's parasha, we read of the plague of the "Arbeh", locusts that consumed all vegetation in Egypt. The Torah tells us:

"They covered all the ground until it was black. They devoured all that was left after the hail—everything growing in the fields and the fruit on the trees. Nothing green remained on tree or plant in all the land of Egypt." (Shemot 10:15)

Similar to his reaction after every plague, Pharaoh summoned Moshe to pray to Hashem and cease the suffering. However, in this instance, we note a peculiar change in Pharaoh's reaction time:

"Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, "I have sinned against Hashem and against you. Now forgive my sin once more and pray to Hashem to take this deadly plague away from me." (Shemot 10:16-17)

Generally, the verses state that Pharaoh "sends" for Moshe, or "calls" Moshe, but this is the only place where we see that Pharaoh rushed to quickly summon Moshe. What was unique about the plague of the locusts?

The Seforno explains that though it was true that the locusts devoured all the vegetation of Egypt, Pharaoh feared that if he delayed, the locusts would destroy the very roots of the trees and plants. Pharaoh was looking ahead towards the future growth of the country's product, which is why he hurried to call to Moshe to stop the locusts from getting that far.

Even from the Egyptians, we can learn a valuable lesson. When we see certain behavior from children, behavior that we do not agree with or condone, are we dismissive, thinking, well, it is just a phase, or do we intervene strongly? Do we take decisive action to prevent the strong Jewish roots that we established in them, spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on Yeshivot, from being eaten away and destroyed?

Jewish education is a life long process where we must lead our children by example, ensuring their strong fruitful growth in future years. As we all head into winter recess, we must remember this lesson. Enjoy the vacation (that is important too), but be sure to watch your children. Oftentimes we hear stories of parties and clubs that parents were not even aware of, all on foreign soil, on faraway islands where a young person feels that no one knows who they are, no one is watching them, and that they can do what they want. There are plenty of ways today to enjoy oneself on vacation, within the confines of Jewish halacha, and this fact needs to be with you just as important, if not more important as that piece of luggage sitting by the door.

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