Pharaoh's Tzaraat

The Turning Point

Between Exile & Redemption

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Pharaoh's Tzaraat

was critical to the Exodus from Egypt.

And it's also relevant nowadays.

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Pharaoh's Supremacy

  • Ancient Egypt was the culture and superpower
  • "Almighty Pharaoh!" and "Go Egypt!"
  • Those were the words in the streets
  • Of the Jewish suburbs...

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To What Extent?

  • Such an esteem Pharaoh was held in!
  • Even in the eyes of (most) Jews!!
  • Even when he started enslaving them!!!
  • Even when he decreed all new-born males must be drowned in the Nile!!!!

Phew - only 4 exclamation marks...

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Things are bad, but who else can turn things around if not Pharaoh?

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  • Pharaoh is not almighty
  • He is wicked to the core – no intention to change
  • They have a G-d Who's with them in their suffering
  • They do have a promise to be liberated
  • And it is time

The Truth is

What's it going to take to shake their reverence for Pharaoh?

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The Turning Point

Exodus 2-3

וַיְהִי בַיָּמִים הָרַבִּים הָהֵם, וַיָּמָת מֶלֶךְ מִצְרַיִם, וַיֵּאָנְחוּ בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל מִן-הָעֲבֹדָה, וַיִּזְעָקוּ; וַתַּעַל שַׁוְעָתָם אֶל-הָאֱלֹהִים, מִן-הָעֲבֹדָה.

וַיִּשְׁמַע אֱלֹהִים, אֶת-נַאֲקָתָם; וַיִּזְכֹּר אֱלֹהִים אֶת-בְּרִיתוֹ, אֶת-אַבְרָהָם אֶת-יִצְחָק וְאֶת-יַעֲקֹב.
וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים, אֶת-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל; וַיֵּדַע, אֱלֹהִים.

...וּמֹשֶׁה, הָיָה רֹעֶה אֶת-צֹאן יִתְרוֹ

And it happened during those many days, that the king of Egypt died, and the Children of Israel groaned because of the work and they cried out.

Their outcry because of their work went up to G-d.  G-d heard their moaning, and G-d remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.
G-d saw the Children of Israel, and G-d knew.

Moses was grazing the sheep of Jethro...

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Pharaoh Didn't Die

  • He become a Metzora (Rashi) 
  • Who is considered as dead (Siftei Chachamim. Also see Numbers 12:12)

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So why did the Jews groan?

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Pharaoh's Blood Bath

To purify himself from his Tzaraat,

Pharaoh was slaughtering Jewish babies and bathing in their blood (Rashi)

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The Completely-White Metzora

  • Remember him? (from Tzaraat Part 3)
  • Position of power
  • Great hopes
  • But rotten to the core.
  • He gets worse
  • Until everyone realizes his true identity.

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Pharaoh's True Reality

  • So bathing in Jewish blood was too much to handle.
  • Took a long time ("many days") to realize
  • That Pharaoh won't get better.
  • But the contrary:
  • He was the very source of their trouble! 

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Pharaoh Died

  • According to other opinions (Ramban et al),
  • Pharaoh actually died.
  • But no celebrations followed 
  • The new Pharaoh was worse. 
  • Replacing Pharaoh wasn't the answer either.

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  • So we've realized salvation won't come from Pharaoh (including another Pharaoh). 
  • And we turned to G-d.
  • Great that's what we've been waiting for!
  • Now here comes the Redeemer – Moses:
  • The story of Moses being charged with liberating the People immediately ensues. (Ch. 3)

Here Comes Moses

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The Exodus The Switch

  • "I don't know G-d", said Pharaoh at first (5:2).
  • And that's what the Exodus was about:
  • So "Egypt will know that I am G-d" (14:18).
  • Taking the steam out of Pharaoh's esteem
  • and placing it in G-d and His servant, Moses.

FROM PHARAOH TO MOSES

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Transfer of Powers

  • It started when Moses was a baby.
  • Little Moses removed Pharaoh’s crown and placed it on his own head (Midrash Rabba 1:26)
  • Ultimately it reached the point when “the man Moses was very great (even) in the eyes of Pharaoh’s servants” (11:3)

FROM PHARAOH TO MOSES

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Summary

from Pharaoh's Tzaraat

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Problem Pharaoh is powerful.  
Real Problem We revere Pharaoh and see no other way out.
Turning Point - Pharaoh gets worse and worse
- Like the Complete-White Metzora
- The Jews realize their hopes were misplaced and turn to G-d,
- At-which-point:
Solution Moses comes into the picture and
Kick-starts the Exodus
Outcome Extraction of power from Pharaoh to Moses

The Exodus story hasn't concluded with the Jews leaving Egypt. 

It just started.

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Pharaoh's Tzaraat

By Itamar Hatzvi

Pharaoh's Tzaraat

How Pharaoh's Tzaraat was the turning point that led to the Exodus from Egypt.

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