Friday, January 20, 2012

VaEira 5632 Second Ma'amar

"ואני אקשה את לב פרעה והרביתי את אותותי ואת מופתי בארץ מצרים/I will harden Pharaoh's heart and I will multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt." (Shmos 7:3)  God is benevolent.  He accepts those who have sinned and wish to return to Him. Why did God treat Pharaoh differently?

Rashi on this pasuk explains.  God knew that Pharaoh, even if he did return to God would not do so with a complete heart.  Pharaoh would surely rebel given the opportunity.  God therefore prevented him from returning so that He could reveal Himself through the tribulations He would bring upon Pharaoh.

Rashi is teaching us the importance of intent.  In the case of Pharaoh, it was more important that the actual deed.  We can infer from this that the opposite is certainly true[1].  If one wants with all his heart to serve God and to not be swayed from this goal, even if he doesn't succeed in bringing this desire to fruition God will nevertheless help him.  It's the desire that counts.

God knows that the children of Israel want to serve God.  He knows that it does not give us pleasure to swerve from doing His will.  Therefore, just as He prevented Pharaoh from returning to Him because Pharaoh did not truly desire to do so, He strengthens our hearts and helps turn our hearts towards Him because He knows it's what we really want.

[1] מדה טובה מרובה ממדת פורעניות, Yoma 76a

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