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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Shemot: Parashat Vaera: Avodah Qasha
There are ten places in the Torah where a Kal Vahomer is implemented. We saw one Kal Vahomer by the brothers of Yosef in Egypt, when they claimed that they could not have stolen Yosef's goblet, for they came to Egypt to return money that they owed Yosef. Why would they steal a goblet, if their purpose coming to Egypt was to return money?

Indeed, in this week's parasha we see another. Moshe tells Hashem, "Bnei Yisrael did not listen to me, how shall Pharaoh listen to me?" If the lowly nation, one who is starved for a leader would not listen to me, how would the great Pharaoh listen to me?

On first glance, this Kal Vahomer seems to make logical sense. However, if we scratch the surface, we see something very strange. The Torah tells us that Bnei Yisrael did not listen to Moshe because of the "Avodah qasha" or "hard work." The level of slave labor forced on them, caused them to not be able to hear a person trying to help them.

How can this be compared to Pharaoh? He is not working, and not even looking for a savior. What type of Kal Vahomer is this?

Our rabbis say that "avodah qasha" is really avodah zara or idol worshipping. Bnei Yisrael in Egypt reached a very low level of impurity and began worshipping idols. It is here where the comparison that Moshe told Hashem is founded. How would Pharaoh, an individual wrought with Avodah Zara (for he even made himself into a deity!) listen to Moshe, if Bnei Yisrael, who were only mildly worshipping Avodah Zara, did not listencom
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