Sunday, January 16, 2011

Water, Flooding and Mashiach

A big wave crashing in Santa Cruz, CA / Mila Zinkova
 Exodus 1:8-10

A new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.
Rashi (11th-century commentator) on the phrase 'A new king': Rav and Shmuel [differed in their interpretation]. One said [the king himself was] really new, and one said his decrees were new.
rsm: Brazil and Australia, two nations recently hit by major flooding, are led by two newly-elected leaders, both of whom come in the footsteps of a past leader who was infamously anti-Israel. Brazil's Lula recently established the first Palestinian embassy in Brazil. Australia's Rudd left a deep diplomatic divide between Australia and Israel.
He said to his people: 'Behold, the people of the children of Israel are greater and stronger than we are. Let us outwit him, lest he multiply; if a war occurs, he too will join our enemies and fight against us, and depart from the land.
Rashi on the phrase 'Outwit him': [Him refers to] the nation. [As in] be witty regarding what to do to him. Our sages taught, let us outwit the savior of Israel, by judging them with water, for He has already sworn that He will not flood the world [again] (but they did not understand that He swore He would not bring a flood upon the whole world, but He will bring one on one nation).
 rsm: Major flooding is occurring now in Brazil, Australia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. In Brazil, over 620 people have been killed by floods and mudslides. In Australia, the worst floods in the country's history have devastated large parts of Queensland and are now 'spreading' to parts of Victoria, with more rain in the forecast. Floods in the Philippines and Sri Lanka have left one million people displaced.
Exodus 1:22

And Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, 'Every son who is born you shall cast into the Nile, and every daughter you shall allow to live.'
All his people: He commanded his people as well. On the day Moses was born, his astrologers told him, today their savior is born, and we do not know if he is Egyptian or Israelite, and we see that his end is to brought down by water, therefore he made a decree that day on the Egyptians as well, as it says 'every son who is born', and not 'every son who is born to the Hebrews', yet they did not know that his end was to be brought down by the waters of Merivah [when Moses struck the rock instead of speaking to it, failing to sanctify God's name, and losing his privelege to enter the land of Israel].
 rsm: Moses was destined to save the Jewish people, take them out of exile and bring them into the land of Israel. Egyptian magic foresaw that water was his 'weak spot' and attempted to foil his plan by drowning him. In return, God drowned the entire Egyptian people in the Red Sea. Every generation since includes an individual with the soul of Moses, who has the potential to bring redemption. In this sense, the war between the Mashaich and His enemies is negotiated with acts involving water. Current flooding may be merely warnings.

פרשת שמות, פרק א, פסוקים ח-י

וַיָּקָם מֶלֶךְ-חָדָשׁ, עַל-מִצְרָיִם, אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יָדַע, אֶת-יוֹסֵף
וַיֹּאמֶר, אֶל-עַמּו:  הִנֵּה, עַם בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל--רַב וְעָצוּם, מִמֶּנּוּ
הָבָה נִתְחַכְּמָה, לו:  פֶּן-יִרְבֶּה, וְהָיָה כִּי-תִקְרֶאנָה מִלְחָמָה וְנוֹסַף גַּם-הוּא עַל-שֹׂנְאֵינוּ, וְנִלְחַם-בָּנוּ, וְעָלָה מִן-הָאָרֶץ
רש"י: ויקם מלך חדש: רב ושמואל חד אמר חדש ממש. וחד אמר, שנתחדשו גזרותיו
נתחכמה לו: לעם. נתחכמה מה לעשות לו. ורבותינו דרשו נתחכם למושיען של ישראל לדונם במים, שכבר נשבע שלא יביא מבול לעולם (והם לא הבינו שעל כל העולם אינו מביא, אבל הוא מביא על אומה אחת)
 שמות א, כ"ב: וַיְצַו פַּרְעֹה לְכָל עַמּוֹ לֵאמֹר כָּל הַבֵּן הַיִּלּוֹד הַיְאֹרָה תַּשְׁלִיכֻהוּ וְכָל הַבַּת תְּחַיּוּן
רש"י: לכל עמו: אף עליהם גזר. יום שנולד משה אמרו לו אצטגניניו היום נולד מושיען, ואין אנו יודעין אם ממצרים אם מישראל, ורואין אנו שסופו ללקות במים, לפיכך גזר אותו היום אף על המצרים, שנאמר כל הבן הילוד, ולא נאמר הילוד לעברים, והם לא היו יודעים שסופו ללקות על מי מריבה

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