Thursday, April 14, 2011

Plagued by a Question...



Question of the Week:


We always get stuck on the part of the Haggadah where the rabbis argue about how many plagues the Egyptians suffered. First it says there were Ten Plagues. Then Rabbi Yehuda makes them into three groups: Dtzach Adash Beachav. Then we hear there were ten plagues in Egypt and fifty additional plagues at the Red Sea. Rabbi Eliezer then says that each plague was really four plagues, so there were 40 in Egypt and 200 at the Red Sea. Finally Rabbi Akiva says each plague was actually five plagues, so there were 50 in Egypt and 250 at the Red Sea!!! Can you shed any light on what in the world is going on here?



The Exodus from Egyptian slavery represents the soul's liberation from evil forces. In every generation we have to see ourselves as if we are leaving Egypt, leaving behind our own inner resistance to goodness, our evil inclination, so we can march to Mount Sinai and receive the Torah.

But to truly be free from slavery, your Egypt has to be afflicted with plagues. Before you can express your inner goodness, you have to clear away layers of resistance that get in the way. For every positive impulse there is a negative counterforce that attempts to quash it. Every time I want to do a good deed, my inner Pharaoh, my evil inclination, has an excuse why I shouldn't do it. I have to break through these blockages in my heart to open myself up to goodness.

This is the deeper meaning of the plagues. Before the Jewish people could receive the Ten Commandments, there were ten layers of evil that had to be vanquished, each layer being the blockage to fulfilling one of the Ten Commandments. After the ten powers of evil were subdued through the ten plagues, the Ten Commandments could be received and observed, and the powers of goodness could reign free.

But the Torah has more than ten commandments. There are in fact six hundred and thirteen commandments. The Ten Commandments are ten general categories, under which all the other commandments fall. "Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy" includes all the festivals. "Do not steal" includes all business ethics and laws of commerce. "Do not murder" includes all moral obligations to our fellow human beings, and so on. They are parent categories, under which lie hundreds of offshoots.

So the ten really includes six hundred and thirteen. Therefore the ten plagues must also include six hundred and thirteen plagues, because for each and every commandment there is a negative counterforce that needs to be nullified for us to be able to perform that commandment. Now we understand why the Haggadah lists various ways our sages extrapolated more plagues than the original ten.

Let's look at the numbers in the order mentioned in the Haggadah:

There were 10 plagues

Rabbi Yehuda groups them into 3 -  Dtzach Adash Beachav

Rabbi Yose lists 10 plagues in Egypt and 50 at the sea

Rabbi Eliezer multiplies it into 40 in Egypt and 200 at the sea

Rabbi Akiva finds 50 plagues in Egypt and 250 at the sea

Now add up the sum total of all these numbers of plagues mentioned in the Haggadah:

10+3+10+50+40+200+50+250 = 613

The Haggadah is teaching an amazing lesson. The Ten Plagues came to clear the way for the Ten Commandments. But being that the Ten Commandments include within them 613 commandments, so too the ten plagues actually add up to 613. When the Jews left Egypt, every single layer of resistance was obliterated, and the Jewish soul was left open to accepting all of the commandments.

On Seder night, as we read through these plagues, we can each think of a mitzvah we have been resisting to do, and allow the power of telling the story of the plagues to rid us of any resistance to goodness, and free us to do what's right.

Good Shabbos and a Happy, Kosher and Liberating Pesach,

 Rabbi Moss

(Source: Sfas Emes)  

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Pre-Pesach Friday Night Dinner at Nefesh








Monday April 18 Erev Pesach

Shachris 7am followed by Siyum for Fast of the First Born

Eat chometz until 10:03am. Burn and sell before 10:59am

Candlelighting 5:12pm

Mincha 5:20pm

Pesach Evening Service 5:45pm - 6:30pm


Tuesday April 19 First day Yomtov

Shachris 10am - 12:45pm

Mincha 5:20pm followed by words of Torah

Evening Service 6pm - 6:45pm, begin counting the Omer

Candlelighting not before 6:06pm


Wednesday April 20 Second day Yomtov

Shachris 10am - 12:45pm

Mincha 5:20pm followed by words of Torah

Evening Service 6pm

Yomtov ends 6:05pm


Thursday, Friday and Sunday Chol Hamoed

Shachris 8am


Shabbos Chol Hamoed

Friday April 22

Candlelighting 5:07pm

Mincha 5:15pm followed by shiur

Shabbos evening service 6:30pm - 7:15pm

Saturday April 23 

Shachris 10am - 12:30pm

Mincha 5:15pm followed by words of Torah and Maariv

Shabbos ends 6:02pm


Sunday April 24 Yomtov Shvii Shel Pesach

Candlelighting 5:05pm

Mincha 5:15pm

Evening Service 6pm


Monday April 25 Yomtov Shvii Shel Pesach

Shachris 10am - 12:45pm

Mincha 5:15pm followed by words of Torah

Evening Service 6pm

Candlelighting not before 6:00pm


Tuesday April 26 Yomtov Acharon Shel Pesach

Shachris 10am - 12:45pm 

Yizkor approx. 11:30am

Mincha 4:45pm followed by Seudas Moshiach for men in shul to end the Yomtov
Seudas Moshiach for women 4:45pm at 128 Wellington St Bondi 

Yomtov ends 5:59pm

Please allow half an hour before eating chometz that was sold










In order to avoid owning any products that aren't Kosher for Pesach, we sell our non-Pesach food for the duration of the festival. To arrange this, please fill in your name (signature not required) and all addresses (work/holiday home included) on the form below and email to by Sunday April 17.
I, the undersigned, fully empower and permit Rabbi Moss to act in my place and stead, and on my behalf to sell all Chometz possessed by me, knowingly or unknowingly as defined by the Torah and Rabbinic Law (e.g. Chometz, possible Chometz, and all kinds of Chometz mixtures).  Also Chometz that tends to harden and adhere to the inside surfaces of pans, pots, or cooking utensils, the utensils themselves, and all kinds of live animals and pets that have been eating Chometz and mixtures thereof.  This includes all above mentioned Chometz that will come into my possession from now until Erev Pesach. He is also empowered to lease all places wherein Chometz owned by me may be found, particularly at the address/es listed below and elsewhere.
Rabbi Moss has full right to appoint any agent or substitute in his stead and said substitute shall have full right to sell and lease as provided herein.  He also has the full power and right to act as he deems fit and proper in accordance with all the details of the Bill of Sale used in the transaction to sell all my Chometz, Chometz mixtures, etc., as provided herein.  This power is in conformity with all Torah, Rabbinic and Civil laws.



NEFESH SERVICES - 54 Roscoe St Bondi Beach 



Candlelighting 5:16pm 


5:20pm Mincha followed by Chassidus Shiur 

6:30pm - 7:15pm Shabbos Service followed by Pre-Pesach Dinner FULLY BOOKED


Shabbos day

9am Class on Weekly Parsha
10am -12:15pm Morning Service with kids program followed by Kiddush sponsored by the Kessels in honour of Noach's bar mitzvah anniversary  - Mazel tov!

Mincha 5:10pm followed by Sholosh Seudos and Maariv

Shabbos ends 6:10pm


8am Shachris 

8:45am - 9:30am Shul cleanup - volunteers needed 


7am Shachris followed by Siyum 

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nefesh office | 45 bellevue rd | bellevue hill | NSW | 2023 | Australia

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