Seven of the ten plagues are described in this week’s Torah reading. The purpose of these plagues was, as G‑d told Moses: “So that you will be able to tell your children and grandchildren how I have made sport from Egypt, performing miraculous signs there.”

Pharaoh is identified with his stubborn boasts, “I do not know G‑d,” and “the river is mine and I have fashioned it,” denying G‑d’s influence in our world and replacing it with a belief in self and man’s power.

The fundamental purpose of the plagues was to negate this approach, to manifest G‑dliness openly so that all could see, and in doing so, to break the pride of Pharaoh and his nation.

G‑d persisted in this endeavor until “Egypt [knew] that I am G‑d,” and Pharaoh’s pride was crushed. He came to Moses in his nightclothes, entreating G‑d’s mercy.

And the evidence was not for Pharaoh alone. The miracles of the exodus serve as testimony of G‑d’s control of the natural order for subsequent generations. In Egypt, even Pharaoh had no choice but to acknowledge G‑dliness. At other times, G‑d’s influence may not be as evident, but it is always He who is ordering our world and our destiny.

Nature itself is no more than a recurring series of miracles. For is there a reason why the sun should rise or the grass should grow?

But beyond the natural order, there is a G‑dly hand directing our lives. Nothing happens by chance. Instead, in a way in which only His infinite wisdom can fully comprehend, G‑d is guiding our lives and working miracles on our behalf.

This is the message of the miracles of the plagues: to probe beneath the surface and become conscious of G‑d’s involvement in our lives. The only difference between the plagues in Egypt and our present situation is the degree in which G‑d’s hand is overtly manifest, but the presence - and the working - of that hand always remains the same.