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  • Writer's pictureRabbi David Paskin

Making Light of the Plagues

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From Rabbi David

Children riding bikes

I struggle with the Passover plagues. Specifically how we've turned them into something fun to sing about (One morning when Pharaoh awoke in his bed...).

I get it. We are teaching our children about something very uncomfortable and we certainly don't want to scare them. But for us adults, by minimizing them, I think we're missing out on a really important aspect of the Passover story.

God brought the plagues which caused tremendous suffering to many Egyptians. God did this to bring about our redemption from slavery. Similarly, there are times when we, today, have to take decisive action for our own safety and security. These actions, though necessary, may cause tremendous suffering. We cannot take this lightly or minimize another's pain.

There is a beautiful teaching that suggests that what made us worthy of redemption from Egypt was our capacity, even in the midst of our own suffering, to show compassion to others who were in their own pain. We must be able to both defend ourselves and mourn for any pain we cause while doing so.

And with all of our compassion for others, let us also stand firm in our understanding that our actions are not to cause anyone else's destruction - but to prevent our own.

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