At the Last Second by Avi Wollman

(2004/5764)

 “And there was a very thick darkness throughout the land of Egypt for a three-day period” (10:22).  One of the reasons for the darkness, quoted by Rashi, is that the wicked Jews would die, unnoticed by their Egyptian neighbors.  This is somewhat confusing. Why is such a magnificent miracle as Makkat Choshech necessary so that the Egyptians would not notice that the wicked Jews had died?  Why did Hashem not simply have those wicked Jews die over a period of time of “natural causes”?  Why did they die during these three days?  R’ Yechezkel Levinstein answers that human nature is to make big plans and then to give excuses why they cannot be done, making it evident that these “plans” are nothing but gibberish.  The reason this happens, R’ Levinstein says, is because finally, at the last moment, the Yetzer Hara dissuades the person from accomplishing what he has planned.  Furthermore, R’ Levinstein adds, the reason it waits for the last moment is because it chimes in only once the person shows initiative and is a step away from action.  When the Jews were in Egypt, the Reshaim did not really need to make realistic excuses to remain - there  were no complaints from the Reshaim.  However, once there was opposition to the cause of the Reshaim and Pharaoh was more willing to let Bnei Yisrael go free, then the Reshaim complained.  Therefore, when Bnei Yisrael were almost out, in the last moments, during the three days of darkness, these Reshaim died. Everyone can learn a lesson from the mistake of these Reshaim.  When one makes a commitment to do something, it is important to follow through on that commitment and persevere despite the misgivings that one may have at the last second.

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