Project Genesis

Jewish Texts

The Chumash (Five Books of Moses)

Blood, Lice, and Gratitude

Question: I noticed that Moses did not take part in bringing forth the plagues of Blood and Lice by not striking the Nile river or the dust. What could be the reason for this?

Answer: You’re making an excellent point about the Blood and Lice. The commentary of Rashi actually points this out as well, so you are in good company. Rashi says that Moses had to show gratitude (so to speak), to the Nile and the dirt of Egypt. The Nile had sheltered him when he was a baby, and the dirt had hidden the Egyptian taskmaster when Moses struck him down – so Moses couldn’t strike them. The Midrash that Rashi cites continues: If we have to show recognition to things like a river and some dirt, which have no feelings, how much more so must we be sensitive to other human beings, and be grateful for whatever they have done for us.

Best wishes,
Michoel Reach

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