Paroh’s Compromise by Uri Weiss


In this week’s Parsha, Hashem brings the last three plagues onto Egypt.  Before the eighth plague, locusts, Paroh offers a compromise to Moshe.  The compromise is that only the adult males would be permitted to leave, while women and children would be required to stay.  The Or Hachaim explains that Paroh was keeping the women and children to guarantee the return of the men.

After the ninth plague, darkness, Paroh attempts another compromise with Moshe.  He allows the people to go as long as the cattle stay.  Here, Rambam says that Paroh figured the Jews would either return for their livestock or leave and Paroh could claim it as his own.

The compromises Paroh tries to make with Moshe were only to enable him to keep Bnai Yisrael as his slaves.  He knew that Bnai Yisrael were planning to free themselves from Egypt, not just go for one three-day holiday.

We learn an important lesson from this episode.  Although the Gemara extols the virtue of compromise (Sanhedrin 6b), there are certain compromises that are unacceptable.

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