Shabbat Greetings from Rabbi David Holtz – January 11

Rabbi HoltzIn this week’s parasha we read about the plagues in Egypt, and of the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart in response to those plagues.  He has evidence before him of the inevitability of God’s victory, but still he refuses to let the people go.  The sages wonder about that phrase, “hardening his heart.”  Is it stubbornness?  Evil?  Stupidity?  One thought is that it might just have been a habit.  Pharaoh, the master of Egypt, god-incarnate to his people, was not used to being challenged or confronted by anyone.  His automatic response to anyone challenging his authority was “No!”  And despite the mounting evidence before him, despite the increasing suffering of the Egyptians through each successive plague, he was unable to break the habit of automatically rejecting any request that challenged his authority.  We know how that worked out for him…

This leads me to some questions for your Shabbat meditation:  1) what are the issues/people/moments/events to which or in which you habitually and automatically say “no?”  Is it time to reconsider that response?  2) what negative habit(s) would you like to change?  Wouldn’t you like to do it now, before the plagues start?

Shabbat shalom!

Author: Melissa