Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Thoughts on beyad chazaka and bizroa netuya

The Haggadah continues, darshening the pasuk. yad chazakah is a reference to the dever because of the pasuk of:
ג  הִנֵּה יַד-ה הוֹיָה, בְּמִקְנְךָ אֲשֶׁר בַּשָּׂדֶה, בַּסּוּסִים בַּחֲמֹרִים בַּגְּמַלִּים, בַּבָּקָר וּבַצֹּאן--דֶּבֶר, כָּבֵד מְאֹד.3 behold, the hand of the LORD is upon thy cattle which are in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the herds, and upon the flocks; there shall be a very grievous murrain.

Thus, there is a yad involved. I am tempted to say that this is a continuation of the idea from before, of Hashem without an agent, for there are two types of makkah. In some, Moshe takes an action which brings about the plague. For instance, Aharon smites the water, or Moshe throws soot heavenwards. In others, Moshe takes no action, but merely announces, with Hashem being the actor. In this instance, Moshe takes no action. He just establishes the set time for the plague to appear, and then:

ו  וַיַּעַשׂ ה אֶת-הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה, מִמָּחֳרָת, וַיָּמָת, כֹּל מִקְנֵה מִצְרָיִם; וּמִמִּקְנֵה בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל, לֹא-מֵת אֶחָד.6 And the LORD did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died; but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one.

This idea holds true for the analysis of the next two phrases in the pasuk (but appears to fail for the last two, which is OK). 

Thus, the next phrase, bizroa netuya is a reference to "the sword". Which sword? Not a literal sword, but to a plague which wipes out human beings. 

This is a pasuk in I Divrei Hayamim perek 21:

טז  וַיִּשָּׂא דָוִיד אֶת-עֵינָיו, וַיַּרְא אֶת-מַלְאַךְ ה עֹמֵד בֵּין הָאָרֶץ וּבֵין הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְחַרְבּוֹ שְׁלוּפָה בְּיָדוֹ, נְטוּיָה עַל-יְרוּשָׁלִָם; וַיִּפֹּל דָּוִיד וְהַזְּקֵנִים מְכֻסִּים בַּשַּׂקִּים, עַל-פְּנֵיהֶם.16 And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the LORD standing between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces.
And this is David's vision. But it represents the plague which will kill many human beings. Thus, this is not intended as a description of what happened in Egypt, but a demonstration that that zroa netuya means this. And so, this is a reference to makkas bechoros, again something which was via Hashem's direct action with no action on Moshe's part.

The key word in Divrei Hayamim is נְטוּיָה, stretched out. So too the zeroa netuya in Egypt.

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