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Parshas Vaeira

Hearing Hashem’s Voice In Good Times As Well As Bad


Pharaoh saw that there had been a relief (from the plague of frogs), and kept making his heart stubborn. (Exodus 8:11)


The Torah teaches us a lesson regarding human nature. Under stress we feel impelled to call out to Hashem and beseech His help. But no soon does the crisis pass than we revert to “business as usual.” Indeed, this obtuseness is the “Pharaoh syndrome”; with each plague, the affliction intensified, but Pharaoh refused to “get it,” and fell back into his old habits.


Would it not be wonderful if we could attain the promises that we make in times of distress: to be more charitable, to be more understanding, to be more compassionate, to be more committed to the observance of mitzvos, the study of Torah, and the attainment of genuine prayer. It is a well-known adage that there are no atheists in foxholes, but the measure of a man can be recognized by his ability to call out to Hashem in times of plenty, when fortune smiles, and to recognize that all his blessings are gifts from Hashem. Our goal is to pray from inspiration rather than from desperation.