Monday, January 3, 2011

Is Stubbornness, A Hardened Heart, a Curse/Punishment From G-d?

A couple of years ago, at a Shiloh event, I mentioned that the Israeli Left's refusal to allow reality to change their ideology was like Pharaoh's hardened heat.  One of my rabbi neighbors heard me and insisted I was wrong. 
"The hardened heart doesn't apply to Jews."
I wonder...

Is there anything rational in Pharaoh's behavior in שמות Sh'mot Exodus Chapter 9

ו וַיַּעַשׂ יְהוָה אֶת-הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה, מִמָּחֳרָת, וַיָּמָת, כֹּל מִקְנֵה מִצְרָיִם; וּמִמִּקְנֵה בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל, לֹא-מֵת אֶחָד. 6 And the LORD did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died; but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one.
ז וַיִּשְׁלַח פַּרְעֹה--וְהִנֵּה לֹא-מֵת מִמִּקְנֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל, עַד-אֶחָד; וַיִּכְבַּד לֵב פַּרְעֹה, וְלֹא שִׁלַּח אֶת-הָעָם. {פ} 7 And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not so much as one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was stubborn, and he did not let the people go. {P}
י וַיִּקְחוּ אֶת-פִּיחַ הַכִּבְשָׁן, וַיַּעַמְדוּ לִפְנֵי פַרְעֹה, וַיִּזְרֹק אֹתוֹ מֹשֶׁה, הַשָּׁמָיְמָה; וַיְהִי, שְׁחִין אֲבַעְבֻּעֹת, פֹּרֵחַ, בָּאָדָם וּבַבְּהֵמָה. 10 And they took soot of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses threw it up heavenward; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man and upon beast.
יא וְלֹא-יָכְלוּ הַחַרְטֻמִּים, לַעֲמֹד לִפְנֵי מֹשֶׁה--מִפְּנֵי הַשְּׁחִין: כִּי-הָיָה הַשְּׁחִין, בַּחַרְטֻמִּם וּבְכָל-מִצְרָיִם. 11 And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boils were upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.
יב וַיְחַזֵּק יְהוָה אֶת-לֵב פַּרְעֹה, וְלֹא שָׁמַע אֲלֵהֶם: כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהוָה, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה. {ס} 12 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses. {S}
כה וַיַּךְ הַבָּרָד בְּכָל-אֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם, אֵת כָּל-אֲשֶׁר בַּשָּׂדֶה, מֵאָדָם, וְעַד-בְּהֵמָה; וְאֵת כָּל-עֵשֶׂב הַשָּׂדֶה הִכָּה הַבָּרָד, וְאֶת-כָּל-עֵץ הַשָּׂדֶה שִׁבֵּר. 25 And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and broke every tree of the field.
כו רַק בְּאֶרֶץ גֹּשֶׁן, אֲשֶׁר-שָׁם בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל--לֹא הָיָה, בָּרָד. 26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail.
כז וַיִּשְׁלַח פַּרְעֹה, וַיִּקְרָא לְמֹשֶׁה וּלְאַהֲרֹן, וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם, חָטָאתִי הַפָּעַם: יְהוָה, הַצַּדִּיק, וַאֲנִי וְעַמִּי, הָרְשָׁעִים. 27 And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them: 'I have sinned this time; the LORD is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.
כח הַעְתִּירוּ, אֶל-יְהוָה, וְרַב, מִהְיֹת קֹלֹת אֱלֹהִים וּבָרָד; וַאֲשַׁלְּחָה אֶתְכֶם, וְלֹא תֹסִפוּן לַעֲמֹד. 28 Entreat the LORD, and let there be enough of these mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer.'
כט וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו, מֹשֶׁה, כְּצֵאתִי אֶת-הָעִיר, אֶפְרֹשׂ אֶת-כַּפַּי אֶל-יְהוָה; הַקֹּלוֹת יֶחְדָּלוּן, וְהַבָּרָד לֹא יִהְיֶה-עוֹד, לְמַעַן תֵּדַע, כִּי לַיהוָה הָאָרֶץ. 29 And Moses said unto him: 'As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread forth my hands unto the LORD; the thunders shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou mayest know that the earth is the LORD'S.
ל וְאַתָּה, וַעֲבָדֶיךָ: יָדַעְתִּי--כִּי טֶרֶם תִּירְאוּן, מִפְּנֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים. 30 But as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the LORD God.'--
לא וְהַפִּשְׁתָּה וְהַשְּׂעֹרָה, נֻכָּתָה: כִּי הַשְּׂעֹרָה אָבִיב, וְהַפִּשְׁתָּה גִּבְעֹל. 31 And the flax and the barley were smitten; for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was in bloom.
לב וְהַחִטָּה וְהַכֻּסֶּמֶת, לֹא נֻכּוּ: כִּי אֲפִילֹת, הֵנָּה. 32 But the wheat and the spelt were not smitten; for they ripen late.
לג וַיֵּצֵא מֹשֶׁה מֵעִם פַּרְעֹה, אֶת-הָעִיר, וַיִּפְרֹשׂ כַּפָּיו, אֶל-יְהוָה; וַיַּחְדְּלוּ הַקֹּלוֹת וְהַבָּרָד, וּמָטָר לֹא-נִתַּךְ אָרְצָה. 33 And Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread forth his hands unto the LORD; and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth.
לד וַיַּרְא פַּרְעֹה, כִּי-חָדַל הַמָּטָר וְהַבָּרָד וְהַקֹּלֹת--וַיֹּסֶף לַחֲטֹא; וַיַּכְבֵּד לִבּוֹ, הוּא וַעֲבָדָיו. 34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.
לה וַיֶּחֱזַק לֵב פַּרְעֹה, וְלֹא שִׁלַּח אֶת-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל: כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהוָה, בְּיַד-מֹשֶׁה. {פ} 35 And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the children of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken by Moses. {P}

He does remind me of the lala Left.  If anything, the lala Left is even worse.

The first plague G-d inflicted on the Egyptians was turning water into blood.  And our Holy Land is suffering drought.  Our natural, local water sources are diminishing and no longer safe.  It's as if the water turned to blood.  We are losing our very necessary natural resources.  Water is the key to survival; for life we need water.

Without sufficient rain we will, G-d forbid, be plagued by all sorts of secondary, tertiary etc problems.  But it all goes back to rain... And what controls the rain?  Our observance of Mitzvot, G-d given commandments.

Yes, I know that I've mentioned this before.  It's something that should be on our minds all the time, how to be better Jews, each and every one of us.  We must constantly grow, change and improve, never let our hearts harden.


JDL London Canada said...

Am kesha oref would be the proper terminology for the left but I agree it is a hardened heart that keeps one from obeying Hashem.

I don't why the rabbi disagreed, the Torah and Tanach is rife with examples of Jews with harden hearts like Shaul Hamelech.

BTW here's a AlJeezra documentary castigating Canada's support for Israel ... at least our PM's heart isn't hardened, there's a good JDL interview as well. Comments,pls when you get the chance. Kodesh Tov!!

Hadassa said...

IMHO the rabbi was a "mamlachti" type.

Keli Ata said...

I hear something very beautiful yet sad on a recent Temple Talk podcast on A7.

One of hosts was discussing why Hashem chose Moshe to lead the Jewish people. I believe it was the rabbi on the show who explained that at first Moshe turned his face away from the burning bush, but then either turned towards it, or stepped closer to it.

In any event (and I hope I am not getting this wrong), the host of Temple Talk said that often Hashem is "looking for signs of life" from us.

I think if we all moved closer to Him, He won't harden our hearts ever.

Batya said...

Free will is the magic ingredient here. Also we must always look at things from many angles.

If we go back to the phrase "avodim hayinu l'paroh..."

Too many Jews are slaves to foreign ideologies. Hadassa, I don't if this neighbor thinks of himself as a "mamlachti."