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The Ten Plagues

The ten plagues are enumerated over the course of Parshiyot Vaera and Bo (last week and this week’s parsha’s). Here is a brief summary of each of the ten plagues.



  1. דם The first plague was the Nile river turning to blood (Shmot 7:14-25). Rashi comments that the Nile was not only the source of water for the Egyptians, but also held religious significance as it was worshiped as a god. The Midrash teaches that the Nile was chosen as the first plague because it was the most beloved to the Egyptians and its transformation into blood was a direct attack on their idol worship

  2. צפרדע The second plague was the outbreak of frogs (Shmot 8:1-15). Rashi explains that the frogs came not just from the Nile but also from the houses, ovens, and even the people's mouths. The Midrash teaches that the frogs were a punishment for the Egyptians' treatment of Bnei Yisrael,, who were forced to catch frogs as part of their labor

  3. כינים The third plague was lice (Shmot 8:16-19). Rashi states that the lice were created from the dust of the earth, and were not just a nuisance but also a humbling experience for the Egyptians. The Midrash teaches that this plague was a punishment for the Egyptians' haughtiness and pride .

  4. ערוב The fourth plague was the wild animals (Shmot 8:20-32). Rashi states that the animals were sent to destroy the Egyptians' crops and livestock. The Midrash teaches that this plague was a punishment for the Egyptians' treatment of the Israelites, who were forced to work in the fields and tend to the animals

  5. דבר The fifth plague was pestilence (Shmot 9:1-7). Rashi explains that the pestilence affected only the animals of the Egyptians, and not the Israelites. The Midrash teaches that this plague was a punishment for the Egyptians' abuse of Bnei Yisrael, who were forced to take care of the Egyptians' animals

  6. שחין The sixth plague was boils (Shmot 9:8-12). Rashi explains that the boils were a painful affliction that caused the Egyptians to be bedridden. The Midrash teaches that this plague was a punishment for the Egyptians' cruelty towards Bnei Yisrael, who were forced to work even when they were sick

  7. ברד The seventh plague was hail (Shmot 9:13-35). Rashi explains that the hail was extremely destructive, destroying the crops, trees, and even people. The Midrash teaches that this plague was a punishment for the Egyptians' refusal to release Bnei Yisrael

  8. ארבה The eighth plague was the locusts (Shmot 10:1-20). Rashi explains that the locusts ate whatever the hail left behind and destroyed the remaining crops. The Midrash teaches that this plague was a punishment for the Egyptians' greed and hoarding of food

  9. חושך The ninth plague was the darkness (Shmot 10:21-29). Rashi comments that the darkness was so thick that it could be felt and it lasted for three days. The Midrash teaches that this plague was a punishment for the Egyptians' idol worship of the sun and moon

  10. מכת בכורות The tenth plague was the death of the firstborn (Shmot 11:1-10 and 12:29-51). Rashi explains that this plague affected not only the Egyptians, but also the firstborn of the animals. The Midrash teaches that this plague was the final and most severe punishment for the Egyptians' treatment of Bnei Yisrael, as it served as a reminder of God's power and the Egyptians' inability to prevent Bnei Yisrael from leaving Egypt


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