Portrait of Hacham Shimon Agassi

Portrait of Hacham Shimon Agassi
Portrait of Hacham Agassi painted by Mrs Ruth Gila, Beit Meir , Israel

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Plagues and the Months
According to the Sages on Rosh Hashanah 2448 the Slavery of Egypt ended (Rosh Hashanah 10.b). This was the day that the Fourth Plague of lice came upon Egypt.
Each of the Ten Plagues lasted one complete week. Thus on the Eighth Day each plague was lifted from the Egyptians. This teaches us that the plagues were not “coincidental” acts of nature that could be explained by naturally occurring phenomena, but they were brought directly by the Mighty Hand of Hashem Himself from the Eighth Sphira.
The Plagues are considered to have occurred on the first day of each month-Rosh Chodesh- and were lifted at the end of the seventh day-beginning of the eighth day. Before each plague Moses gave a three week warning (Rashi Shmot 7.25). There are those who state the opposite that the warning was given on Rosh Chodesh and the plague came three weeks later-seven days before the end of the month, thus the eighth day when it lifted was Rosh Chodesh of the next month. This difference can be reconciled as according to the principles of the “Reverse Calendar”- in the Eighth Sphira the days of the months are counted backwards.
According to the Ramban (Bo.4) the Seventh Plagues of Hail descended at the beginning of the month of Adar and the final three plagues-Locusts, Darkness and Slaying of the Firstborn-were all in the month of Nissan.
Eight of the plagues lasted seven days. The exceptions were the last two—Darkness, which lasted 6 days, and the Plague of the Firstborn, which lasted a moment-at midnight of the 15th of Nissan. Rashi explains (on verse 7:25) each plague was in the first week, and for the next three weeks, Moshe warned Pharaoh of the next one.
Surely it would make more sense for Rashi to say that there were three weeks of warning and then the plague? Why enjoin the warning for one plague together with the lifting of the last plague?
The answer is that the end and the beginning are one. The end of one plague marked the beginning of the next plague and so a warning was given; and the beginning of the next plague marked the end of the previous plague. They were all in fact “One Plague” as I explain in Appendix 2.

The Rebbe of Lubavitch explains that the purpose of the warning was not only as a warning per se, but it was also meant to break the Egyptians’ pride, to make them fearful and to punish them. Because of this, the warnings were an inherent part of the plagues. As one plague ended, Moshe would already be announcing the coming plague. In effect, the warning would continue the damage and destruction—but on a psychological level—that had begun with the preceding plague.
I adopt the traditional opinion that the plagues physically occurred on earth on the First Day of Each Month except for the final plague- Slaying of the Firstborn- which was on the 14th of Nissan. This is the most logical conclusion, as according to our Sages, the Plague of Darkness lasted 6 days only - from the 1-6th of Nissan and lifted on the 7th of Nissan and exactly EIGHT DAYS later- on the 15th of Nissan- the Plague of the Firstborn occurred.
This opinion is proved by the following:
Eight Plagues of Seven Days- 8*7=56
One Plague of Six Days= 6
56 + 6 =62=8
The seventh and final day of the Plague of Darkness was saved up until the 21st of Nissan (last day of Pesach when the Pillar of Cloud descended and divided between the Camp of Israel and the Camp of Egypt by the Reed Sea-ויהי הענן והחושך ויאר את הלילה (Shmot 14.20; Sefer Ha Parshiot, Bo).
This is the proof of my opinion:
Plague of Blood-Rosh Chodesh Av
ראש חודש אב –מכת דם
1326+5 words=1331=8

Plague of Frogs-Rosh Chodesh Ellul
  ראש חודש אלול- מכת צפרדע

Plague of Lice-Rosh Hashanna-Tishri
ראש השנה תשרי- מכת כנם
2901+5 words=17=8 (final Mem as 600)

Plague of Ferocious Beasts-Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan
ראש חודש חשון- מכת ערב
 2565=18 (Nun 700)

Plague of Pestilence-Rosh Chodesh Kislev
ראש חודש כסלו- מכת דבר

Plague of Boils-Rosh Chodesh Tevet
ראש חודש טבת- מכת שחין

Plague of Hail-Rosh Chodesh Shvat
ראש חודש שבט- מכת ברד
1796+5 words=1801=10=1

Plague of Locusts-Rosh Chodesh Adar
ראש חודש אדר- מכת ארבה

Plague of Darkness-Rosh Chodesh Nissan
ראש חודש ניסן- מכת חשך
1777+5 words=1782=18

Plague of the Firstborn-Midnight-15th Nissan
ט"ו ניסן חצות הלילה- מכת בכורות

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