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    Aaron & not Moses – Va’era

    Moses & Aaron, by Hans Sebald Beham, 16th century

    Aaron, not Moses, presided over the beginning of the plagues. It was Aaron who brought about the plague that affected the waters of the Nile (Ex. 7:19), and only thereafter did he address the other waters of Egypt.

    Why did his brother Moses not bring about the first plague?

    The sages, followed by Rashi, say that it would not have been right for Moses to harm the waters of the Nile, since it was those waters that had protected his cradle when he was a baby.

    The way the sequence of the plagues proceeded illustrated the principle of hakkarat ha-tov, showing gratitude for a favour.

    The Aaron and Moses story teaches us the ethical principle of thankfulness.

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