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    The plague of darkness

    The plague of darkness, Doré's English Bible, 1866

    Egypt had three days of thick darkness: “they did not see one another, and no-one rose from his place” (Ex. 10:23).

    There are two types of darkness, literal and metaphorical.

    At times of literal darkness, you cannot see a thing. That’s why one of the early morning blessings thanks God poke’ach iv’rim – “who opens the blind eyes”.

    Metaphorical darkness is when you actually do have light around you, but you do not see one another and no-one gets out of his or her place to help the other person.

    Once again the morning b’rachah becomes relevant. Thanks to God and His Torah we know that people should be helping one another, not pretending not to see or hear one’s fellow human being.

    It’s not simply a matter of helping the proverbial old lady across the street, though that too has its place in the Jewish ethical agenda, but of recognising that everyone has their “peckel” (their bag of woes) and maybe you or I might be the only person who can help them feel better and find a glimmering of hope.

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