Shemot – Sh’vi’i

You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet!

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Moshe and Aharon went to Pharaoh with the instruction to release the Jews so that they might go and serve G-d. Pharaoh’s reply was, “G-d? Who’s G-d? I don’t know any G-d!” He accused the Jews of slacking and told them to get back to work. “If the Jews have so much free time on their hands,” he said, “then they don’t need us giving them the straw to make bricks any more. Let them gather their own straw – and they’d better keep meeting their daily quota!”

Pharaoh’s taskmasters implemented the new system, much to the Jews’ dismay. Of course, they couldn’t gather straw and keep up with their quotas, so they fell behind and were beaten. When they protested, Pharaoh’s sole reply was that they should stop being so lazy. This was a serious problem.

As the Jewish representatives were leaving this unsuccessful summit with Pharaoh, they encountered Moshe and Aharon. “Thanks a lot, guys!” they said. “Things weren’t bad enough? You just had to go and make them worse!” This distressed Moshe, who turned to G-d in prayer. G-d replied that Moshe should be patient, because he ain’t seen nothing yet!

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