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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Devarim: Parashat Eqeb: Divine Guarantee

Contributed by: R. Ezra Mizrahi

"Hashem will remove from you every illness, and all the bad maladies of Egypt that you knew – He will not put them upon you, but will put them upon all your foes" (Devarim 7, 15) In this verse, we are given the promise that Hashem will not bestow upon us all the diseases and maladies that befell on Egypt. However, the English translation of this verse overlooks a minor but significant change in language from the first to the second part of the verse. The verb "Sam" to put, is used in the first part of the verse – meaning that Hashem will not put on us any of these maladies, The second part of the verse is translated similarly, that Hashem will put these maladies on our enemies. However, the word used here in Hebrew is "Natan" to give. What is the difference? Our Rabbis in Maseceht Keretot tells us that when using the verb "Sam" to put, refers to any discernible amount, even a small speck. The verb "Natan" to give, on the other hand, refers to giving an amount that is measurable or discernible. How does this relate to the meaning of the verse? Hashem will not put on Bnei Yiserael even an inkling of any of these diseases, not even a small amount. However, when it comes to our enemies, Hashem will put upon them these inflictions in significant measurable amounts. Amen!! From here also we can understand the basis for what we read in the Haggadah of Pesah. There we read about an argument between great Rabbanim, each one trying to describe a the number of calamites that befell the Egyptians. Each Rabbi tries to out do the prior one. Why this debate? The more calamities that we define fell on Egypt increases the number of calamities that Hashem guarantees will not fall upon us!com
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