Shabbat Greetings

In this week’s Torah portion, Vaera (Exodus 6:2-9:35), we study the continuing story of Moses confronting Pharaoh and the bringing of the initial plagues – blood, frogs, and lice. After Aaron initiated the scourge of lice, Pharaoh summoned his necromancers to remove the plague, but they were unsuccessful. The Talmud, (Sanhedrin 67b) explains that because lice are smaller than a barley kernel, they were too small for the Egyptian sorcerers to affect them. They had no power over little things. The Talmud teaches us that God on the other hand, not only can control exceedingly small things, but God also makes it God’s business to make sure they play their role in nature and here in the liberation process.

Not only do the little things count, but we must also learn from God that we too must carefully scrutinize the ‘little things of life’. Never belittle the little events and occurrences of life. In Ex. 7:15 Moses is commanded that when he goes down to the river to bring the plague: ‘and bring in your hand the staff that was turned into a snake’. Why did God specify the staff ‘that was turned into a snake’? Did Moses have more than one staff?  When Aaron turned the staff into a snake, Pharaoh’s necromancers did the same with their staffs, thereby making light and belittling the miracle.

When Moses is instructed to take that very same staff to bring the “Big Plagues” the Torah is teaching what might appear to be small or inconsequential actions are just as important as the ‘main event’. A simple message for all of us is that we are reminded that there are actually big and small miracles happening continuously around us. Regretfully, however, we don’t always recognize them. Miracles such as sight, respiration, and mobility are too frequently unappreciated until we lose them.

Let us make an extra effort to not only be conscious of the “little things” – let’s dedicate ourselves to the holy endeavor of acknowledging God’s divine presence all about us in daily life.