Blood before Frogs

December 31, 2018 at 2:58 AM , , ,

“…..And the river will swarm with frogs, and they will emerge and come inside your home and your bedroom and upon your bed, and inside the homes of your servants and among your people, and into your ovens and your kneading troughs….” – Shemot 7:28

וְשָׁרַץ הַיְאֹר צְפַרְדְּעִים וְעָלוּ וּבָאוּ בְּבֵיתֶךָ וּבַחֲדַר מִשְׁכָּבְךָ וְעַל מִטָּתֶךָ וּבְבֵית עֲבָדֶיךָ וּבְעַמֶּךָ וּבְתַנּוּרֶיךָ וּבְמִשְׁאֲרוֹתֶיךָ – שמות ז, כח

The battering of the Egyptians began with the waters of the Nile River changing to blood. The next stage in breaking the grip of Egyptian oppression was when G-d smote the land with frogs, which swarmed from the waters of the Nile into the Egyptians’ homes, in their bedrooms and their kitchens.

The Plagues that brought down Egypt represent the steps that a Jew must take to escape his or her personal Egypt as well – the internal limitations that hamper our service of G-d. The first two Plagues both involved water, which is cold by nature, and therefore represents an attitude of coldness – detachment and indifference. The swarming of Egypt and everything Pharaoh-related with frogs, whose natural habitat is the water, symbolizes that to break free from the mighty grip of our inner Egypt requires  that we be oblivious and indifferent to all physical and material lusts and thrills.

Under normal circumstances, ridding ourselves of such competing loyalties would be the first step before we could attempt to live a life devoted to G-d and G-dliness. But the frogs were not the first Plague but the second. They were preceded by the Plague of Blood, which symbolizes the need to approach holiness and G-dliness with warmth and passionate excitement, like the naturally warm, life-giving blood that replaced the cold waters of the Nile.

The order of the Plagues teaches that we must infuse our Torah and Mitzvot with fervor and enthusiasm even if we haven’t yet completely cooled down our spiritually-deficient lusts and desires.  If any darkness and undesirable passions still remains, it will ultimately  be dispelled through the light and warmth of our passion-filled Mitzvot.

—Likkutei SichoT vol. 1, pp. 123-125

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