Open Your Eyes by David Tessler


The end of Parshat Bo discusses our obligation to wear Tefillin and says, כי בחזק יד הוציאנו ה' ממצרים, “For with a strong hand Hashem removed us from Egypt” (13:16).  On this Pasuk, Ramban talks beautifully about a fundamental idea of Mitzvot and why they are often connected to Hashem’s taking us out of Mitzrayim. 

Ramban explains that ever since the generation of Enosh, the first generation of idol worshippers, there have always been people who have questioned Hashem.  Some deny that Hashem created the world or say that He does not know what goes on in this world.  Others admit to His existence but deny that He watches over the world and say that there is no Divine reward or punishment.  Through Hashem’s wondrous miracles, though, it is clear that these ideas are false.  His miracles show that He created the world, watches over it, judges it, and has full control over everything.

Ramban goes on to explain that through the obvious and great miracles that Hashem performs we come to see the hidden miracles that make up the Torah, for no one can have a part in the Torah unless he believes that all the words and events in the Torah are true.  It is only if we see the hand of Hashem in our personal and communal lives that we can properly accept the Torah and form a close connection with Hashem.  If we fail to see the small miracles that happen every second of our lives, we are just like Paroh.  When the plague of blood began, instead of Paroh realizing the role of Hashem in the plague, he hardened his heart and closed his eyes to Hashem.  He simply dismissed the plague in his mind as magic, and he had his own sorcerers repeat this plague.  Only the Jews had clear water; Hashem demonstrated His superior power by forcing Paroh’s magicians to first go to the Jews to purchase clear water before they could replicate the plague.

The “magic tricks” of Paroh’s sorcerers still exist today.  When an investment we make in the stock market does very well, we say that we were lucky.  When we wake up in the morning we often take for granted that we have woken up and are alive.  Only when we see the hand of Hashem in everything that happens to us can we accept the Torah properly in our hearts and form a close connection with Hashem.

Paroh’s Compromise by Uri Weiss

Moonlight by Uriel Schechter