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Daily Aliya for Vaeira, Revii (4th Aliya)

Aliya Summary: Moshe and Aaron appeared before Pharaoh. As per G‑d’s instructions, Aaron cast his staff on the ground, and it turned into a serpent. When Pharaoh’s magicians did the same with their staffs, Aaron’s staff swallowed theirs. Pharaoh remained unimpressed—and so the plagues commenced. Plague One: Aaron smote the Nile with his staff. The river and all the waters in Egypt turned into blood, and all the fish perished. Plague Two: Aaron stretched his staff upon the Nile and droves of frogs emerged. They covered the land, entered all the houses, even the ovens and kneading bowls. Pharaoh summoned Moshe and Aaron and begged them to pray to G‑d to remove the plague, after which he would release the Israelites.

The Baal HaTurim points out that the passuk says: “G-d says to Moshe that when Paroh will ask for a sign, you (Moshe) shall tell to Aharon to take your staff and throw it (on the ground) in front of Paroh, it shall become a snake.” He explains that the staff was thrown down and then Moshe was to command it to become a snake. This was meant to show Paroh (and us) the power of speech that G-d has given to Moshe, and by extension to us, in that the staff did not change upon being thrown down (action), but by a spoken command (speech). Although we can’t create snakes with our speech, we can create venom and pain with it.