Every Friday, Morah Stein teaches the fifth grade about the parshah. This week the class was discussing the ten makkos (plagues) which HaShem brought upon the Egyptians. The girls already knew a lot about the parshah.

“This week’s parshah mentions seven of the ten makkos,” called out Suri.

“Pharaoh was warned before two of the makkos, but the third one came without warning,” recalled Mimi.

Aharon caused the first two makkos by striking the Nile River and pointing his staff at it. Moshe could not do this himself, because he had been saved by the river,” said Brochah.

Morah Stein was pleased with the girls’ knowledge. “Since you know so much about the parshah already, let me ask you some questions that will make you think.” The class was eager to hear the questions, and they listened attentively.

“Why did HaShem bring the makkos upon the Egyptians in the first place?” asked Morah Stein.

“Because they deserved to be punished,” answered Rivki.

“But HaShem can punish people in many different ways. Why did He choose to punish the Egyptians with these strange and wondrous makkos ? He could have destroyed them all in a single instant. Why did the makkos have to take several months, and why were there so many miracles?”

The girls did not know the answer, so Morah Stein continued: “When HaShem told Moshe Rabbeinu to tell Pharaoh to let the Jews leave Egypt, what was Pharaoh’s first reaction?”

“I know,” said Shaindy. “Pharaoh stubbornly asked: ‘Who is HaShem that I must listen to Him?’ ”

“Oh, I get it” called out Feige.

All the girls turned to Feige. Feige was the class brain. If anyone could figure it out, she could. “The Egyptians didn’t believe in HaShem. So HaShem punished them by bringing supernatural makkos. These miracles forced them to learn about HaShem and to realize how great He is.”

“Very good thinking,” Morah Stein complimented Feige. “HaShem brought the makos for a clear purpose: Viyaydu Mitzrayim ki Ani HaShem ‘So that the Egyptians will know that I am HaShem.’ The makkos helped the Egyptians and the entire world recognize HaShem ’s power.”

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXI, Parshas Va’eira)