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Jewish Texts

Plague of Darkness

Question: I read Rabbi Kirshblums article (questions to ponder) where he writes about 2,400,000 jews dying during the plague of darkness. I cant find this in the bible. Please help me to understand why G-d would kill four fifths of his chosen people before he sets them free? thank you

Answer: This is a comment found in the Midrash.

Basically, the Egyptian society was filled with immorality and impurity—the antithesis of G-dliness. Most of Israel had sunk to such a degree that they could not be redeemed.

Therefore G-d decreed that they should pass into the next world rather than being left behind. He made this happen during the Plague of Darkness in order that the Egyptians not see this and misconstrue it as their own victory over the Jews.

It is said that before the Messianic Age something similar will happen. If we look around us—it is happening now. Today there are countless Jews who have been lost to the Jewish people, who no longer consider themselves Jewish! So perhaps this is the decree we learned about so many years ago…

Best, Rabbi Azriel Schreiber 

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