Parshat Va’era: Shmot 6:2 – 9:35
Assigned: Tuesday, January 17th – the 22nd of Tevet
DUE: FRIDAY, January 20th – the 25th of Tevet

1) What did God promise the avot (Avraham, Yitzchak, and Ya’akov) in the brit (covenant) that God made with them and recalls at the beginning of this parsha?

2) What reason does God provide to Moshe and Aaron for making Pharaoh stubborn in his refusal to let the Jews go?

3) Read and answer the questions about the different explanations these midrashim give for the first plague:
Shmot Rabbah 9.8
Why was the first plague – changing the water of the Nile river into blood? Because Pharaoh and the Egyptians worshipped the Nile. Said the Kadosh Baruch Hu (God) – I shall first strike his god-then his nation.
Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer 19
Why did God bring the plague of blood to the Nile river? Because the Egyptians threw the children of B’nai Yisrael into the river…therefore God punished them through the waters of the Nile.
According to this midrash, why did God bring the plague of blood?
According to this midrash, why did God bring the plague of blood?
Shmot 7:19
The Lord said to Moses, "Say to Aaron, 'Take your staff and stretch forth your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their canals, over their ponds, and over all their bodies of water, and they will become blood, and there will be blood throughout the entire land of Egypt, even in wood and in stone.' "
. וַיֹּאמֶר יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֶל מֹשֶׁה אֱמֹר אֶל אַהֲרֹן קַח מַטְּךָ וּנְטֵה יָדְךָ עַל מֵימֵי מִצְרַיִם עַל נַהֲרֹתָם עַל יְאֹרֵיהֶם וְעַל אַגְמֵיהֶם וְעַל כָּל מִקְוֵה מֵימֵיהֶם וְיִהְיוּ דָם וְהָיָה דָם בְּכָל אֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם וּבָעֵצִים וּבָאֲבָנִים:
Rashi on 7:19
Say to Aaron: Since the Nile protected Moses when he was cast into it, it therefore was not smitten by him, neither with blood nor with frogs, but was smitten by Aaron. — [from Tanchuma, Va’era 14]
אמר אל אהרן: לפי שהגין היאור על משה כשנשלך לתוכו, לפיכך לא לקה על ידו לא בדם ולא בצפרדעים, ולקה על ידי אהרן:

4) According to Rashi’s commentary on Shmot 7:19, why is it that Aaron “brought” the first two plagues of blood and frogs?

5) In the chumash that you are using to complete this homework, how is the fourth plague, arov, translated?

6a) In your opinion, which of the first 7 plagues described in this parsha, was the worst?

6b) Why do you think so?