This week’s Torah portion, Va’era, continues the Exodus narrative. Plagues will be summoned in an attempt to convince Pharaoh to release the Israelites.
For a while, Pharaoh’s magicians are able to match Moses’ wonders. Moses’s staff turns into a serpent; Egyptian magicians duplicate the act. Aaron strikes the Nile with his rod turning the water into blood; the magicians do likewise.
When Aaron produces frogs that overrun the country, the magicians do the same with their spells. Which means that, rather than using incantations to make the frogs disappear, the best they can do is produce even more frogs. Making matters worse!
Apparently, it’s easier to add to plagues than to make them go away.
Isn’t this true in our lives? When we hear gossip, we don’t put an end to it. Not when we can add to it! And when there is a conflict, it’s hard to bring it to an end. Instead, we yell louder.
Eventually, Pharaoh’s magicians realize adding to misery is not the answer, and plead with Pharaoh to do something to bring the plagues to an end.
We, too, need to be aware of when we are contributing to making matters worse.
Rabbi David Vorspan, Rabbi-in-Residence