He saw sticks turn into snakes. He didn't budge.

He saw water turn into blood. His heart remained closed.

He felt and smelled the invasion of the frogs. Nothing.

He itched from lice and ran fright from the wild animals. He barely blinked.

Hello, Pharaoh! Why don't you just give up?

"I should let them free? Are you out of your mind?"He saw the corpses of Egyptian livestock strewn all over the city and rolled on the floor to ease the burning pain of his boils. Who cares?

He watched in awe and fright as balls of fire and ice pounded the landscape. "Who is this G‑d?"

He woke up in the morning to find empty drawers, all the food consumed by grasshoppers. He sat in total darkness for three days, then for the next three days was unable to move. "I should let them free? Are you out of your mind?"

He cried as his firstborn dropped dead, and became fearful for his own life: after all he was also a firstborn…

Okay, finally he gave in; he let the Jewish people go. It had taken a while, but now his heart had softened.

Or so we thought.

The story continued.

A few days after the Jews left, when they were already far away near the Red Sea, Pharaoh regretted his decision. He begged for volunteers to join his mission, and, all invigorated, he chased after his former slaves, in an attempt to bring them back.

As he approached the Jewish camp, G‑d blocked off the Egyptian camp with a cloud, causing all the arrows and spears aimed at the Jews to bounce back.

Think he cared?

He saw the waters split. He decided to chase after them.

No "miracles shmiracles" were going to change his mind.

A stubborn mule. Nothing, absolutely nothing could push him off his crooked path.

The Kotzker Rebbe taught that we should learn a lesson from our first tormentor:

A lesson in defiance.