A Custom - Made Test

Our sages have taught us that "G-D does not put a person in a test that he cant stand in". Yet, it is surprising to discover that this person could also be Pharaoh…

| ג' טבת התשע"ז |

Throughout the ten plagues we witness a kind of negotiation between Pharaoh and Moses. Moses demands from Pharaoh to free the people of Israel, however Pharaoh refuses. After the Almighty sends the first plague, Pharaoh shows signs of wanting to liberate the people of Israel but then regrets. Moses then warns him again, and Pharaoh refuses again, this scenario repeats itself again and again.

In the first encounter between Moses to Pharaoh, we find a puzzling verse: "And they said: The G-d of the Hebrews has called on us. Let us go, to a three days journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the LORD our G-d. At first, Moses did not ask Pharaoh to completely release the people of Israel, but only for three days, to sacrifice to the Lord in the wilderness, and then return to Egypt. This was Moses modest request, which was also refused by Pharaoh. Therefore the plagues had started to hit the Egyptians one after another, simply because they were not willing to release the people of Israel only for a few days, and then return!

Therefore it is now understood why Pharaoh and his army began to ran after the people of Israel only after a few days. They were sure that the release was temporary, for three days. Only when they noticed that the people of Israel were not coming back but continuing to move further away from Egypt, they started to chase them.

This raises the question: Why did Moses hide the true intention from Pharaoh? Was G-D afraid to reveal Pharaoh his final goal? Why did Moses tell Pharaoh that the people of Israel will go in the wilderness for only three days and then come back? After all, the true intention was to escape Egypt forever and to reach the promised land of Israel!

The Holy Alsheich answers this question through a great foundation which lies within G-Ds leadership of the world. One of the rules our Sages had taught us is that the Almighty does not put a person in a test that he cant stand in. Each person, in any situation- when facing a test, must know that he has the power and tools to deal with this trial.

G-D knew that the test of releasing the people of Israel for good was beyond Pharaohs power to stand in. Yet, he was able to stand in the test of releasing them for a limited time. If he would agree right away, G-D wouldn’t have brought any plague on Egypt. But since Pharaoh did not stand in the test sent to him even though he had the power to stand in it, he then was punished according to the attribute of justice.

According to the Alsheich, this foundation should lead us in every stage in life. Sometimes a person lives with the feeling that if only he had grew up in a different house or a different family, he would be able to successfully overcome the trials of life. Therefore he chooses to blame all his problems on his background: I grew up in a difficult family, and had an unsupportive environment, I also went through many unpleasant experiences in life. Thats how he runs away from any responsibility.

However G-D tells us that the tests we receive are in accordance to our strength and capability, if a test is sent to us, it means that we can handle it. The Talmud puts it in this way: "Lafum Gamla- Shakhna", meaning that the burden loaded is decided according to the type of camel, if it’s a young camel- the packages loaded on him would be lighter, but if the camel is strong and big- than a large and heavier package would be loaded upon him. The same happens with a persons tests, a person with great mental strength will receive greater tests. And he must always remember that nothing stands in the way of will power, and when theres a will theres a way.

A person who deals with his tests through a faithful perspective on life, can see how these tests are designed to elevate him to great spiritual heights, giving him a better and happier life.

Shabbat Shalom


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