Parashat Bo

Compared to lice, boils, and blood, was the plague of darkness really that bad? The Midrashim that discuss the plague of darkness emphasize the danger and severity of this plague. In Exodus Rabbah 14:2, Rabbi Nechemiah makes it clear that the plague of darkness was not a typical form of darkness as he believed that this darkness came from Gehenom, hell. Exodus Rabbah 14:3 discusses how the this darkness was a physically thick substance. For the first three days of the plague, individuals who were sitting or standing could change their positions, but during the next three days of the plague, individuals could not sit, stand, or even get out of bed.

These Midrashim detail the power and pain that accompanied this unique form of darkness. The Egyptians suffered greatly from this plague as they were psychologically confined. They felt helpless and powerless in their own homes. The plague of darkness was the second to last plague as it truly exposed the Egyptians to the complete power that God could have over them. This plague could not be cured with a candle or a night-light. The Egyptians had to face the reality that the God of Bnai Yisrael was here to stay.

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