Go and learn what Lavan the Aramean intended to do to our ancestor Jacob. Even Pharaoh only intended to kill the male children, while Lavan intended to annihilate all of Jacob’s family, bringing the Jewish People to an end. As it is said:
“A wandering Aramean was my father, who went down to Egypt and sojourned there, few in number. And there we multiplied becoming a great people, strong and numerous.” (Dt. 26:5)
He went down to Egypt – compelled by divine decree.
He sojourned there – implies that he didn’t come to settle in Egypt - only to dwell temporarily, as it is written: “They said to Pharaoh: ‘We have come to sojourn in this land because there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks; the famine is severe in Canaan. For now, though, let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen.’ “
Few in number – as it is written: “With seventy souls your ancestors went down to Egypt, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky.”
There he became a nation – means that they became a distinct people in Egypt.
Great, mighty – as it is written. “The children of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and became mighty, and the land was full of them.”
And numerous – as it is written: “I made you as populous as the plants of the field; you grew up and wore choice adornments; your breasts were firm and your hair grew long; yet, you were bare and naked.”
“The Egyptians were evil to us and afflicted us; they imposed hard labor upon us.” (Dt. 26:6)
The Egyptians were evil to us – as it is written: “Let us deal craftily with them, lest they increase even more, and it may be that when a war occurs, they will be added to our enemies and will fight against us and go up out of the land.”
And afflicted us – as it is written: “They set taskmasters over them in order to oppress them with their burdens; the people of Israel built Pithom and Raamses as storecities for Pharaoh.”
They imposed hard labor upon us – as it is written: “They imposed back-breaking labor upon the people of Israel.”
“We cried to the Lord, the God of our fathers; the Lord heard our cry and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression.” (Dt. 26:6)
We cried to the Lord, the God of our fathers – as it is written: “It happened in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died; the children of Israel sighed because of their labor and cried; their cry of servitude reached God.”
The Lord heard our cry – as it is written: “God heard their groaning; God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.”
And saw our affliction – that is, the conjugal separation of husband and wife, as it is written: “God saw the children of Israel and God knew.”
Our toil – refers to the drowning of the sons, as it is written: “Every son that is born you shall cast into the river, but you shall let every daughter live.”
Our oppression – means the pressure used upon them, as it is written: “I have also seen how the Egyptians are oppressing them.”
“The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and outstretched arm, with great awe, miraculous signs and wonders.” (Dt. 26:8)
The Lord brought us out of Egypt – not by an angel, not by a seraph, not by a messenger, but by the holy one, blessed be He, Himself, as it is written: “I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night; I will smite all
the firstborn in the land of Egypt from man unto beast; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments; I am the Lord.” “I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night” – myself and not an angel; “I will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt” – myself and not a seraph; “on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments” – myself and not a messenger; “I am the Lord” – I and none other.
Mighty hand – refers to the disease among the cattle, as it is written: “Behold the hand of the Lord strikes your cattle which are in the field, the horses, the donkeys, the camels, the herds, and the flocks--a very severe pestilence.”
Outstretched arm – means the sword, as it is written: “His drawn sword in his hand, outstretched over Jerusalem.”
Great awe – alludes to the divine revelation, as it is written: “Has God ever attempted to take unto Himself, a nation from the midst of another nation by trials, miraculous signs and wonders, by war and with a mighty hand and outstretched arm and by awesome revelations, just as you saw the Lord your God do for you in Egypt, before your eyes?”
Miraculous signs – refers to the miracles performed with the staff of Moses, as it is written: “Take this staff in your hand, that you may perform the miraculous signs with it.”
And with wonders – this is the blood, as it written, “I will put wonders on heaven and earth.”
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