Exodus 8:15
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15  and the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of Hashem!” But Pharaoh’s heart stiffened and he would not heed them, as Hashem had spoken.

va-yo-m’-RU ha-khar-tu-MEEM el par-OH ETZ-ba e-lo-HEEM HEE va-ye-khe-ZAK layv par-OH v’-lo sha-MA a-lay-HEM ka-a-SHER di-BER a-do-NAI

טו  וַיֹּאמְרוּ הַחַרְטֻמִּים אֶל־פַּרְעֹה אֶצְבַּע אֱלֹהִים הִוא וַיֶּחֱזַק לֵב־פַּרְעֹה וְלֹא־שָׁמַע אֲלֵהֶם כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהֹוָה׃

 8:15 This is the finger of Hashem

Yaakov’s grave inside the Machpelah cave

The plague of lice had theological implications for the Egyptians, as it was the first time that Pharaoh’s magicians recognized the “finger of Hashem.”  According to Rashi, this plague was also one of three reasons why Yaakov made his son Yosef promise to bury him in in the Land of Israel (Genesis 47:29-31).  Yaakov did not want to be buried in the Egyptian soil which would crawl with lice, as described in verse 13.  Rashi further explains that  when Mashiach comes and the dead are resurrected from their graves, the remains of those buried outside Eretz Yisrael will need to painfully roll great distances to get to Israel. To avoid this, Yosef asks to be buried in the Holy Land. Finally, Rashi writes that Yaakov did not want to be deified by the Egyptians after his death. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, however, suggests a fourth reason. Though he had lived in Egypt for seventeen years, he longed to be back in his homeland and wanted to impress upon his descendants that the Land of Israel is where they really belong. To this day, there are many who follow Yaakov’s example. Appreciating the value and significance of the land, they ask their descendants to bury them in Israel even if they are unable to live there.

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Comments ( 2 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

  • As also in the comments on verse 13, it seems that Rashi stumbled onto a stash of magic mushrooms or something similar. His three propositions for Yaakov wanting to be buried in Eretz Yisrael have absolutely no foundation in Biblical or historical fact. Rabbi Hirsch is much more logical in his reasoning, yet he’s still reading something into Yaakov’s thinking which has neither Biblical nor historical basis.

    I’ll suggest a fifth alternative: he simply wanted to buried in the family tomb. Genesis 47:30 reads thus, “When I lie down with my fathers, take me up from Egypt and bury me in their burial-place.” He (Yosef) replied, “I will do as you have spoken.”

    Nothing deep or profound, yet both Biblically and historically accurate.

  • EretzYisrael is the land which Yaakov and his children really belong to.This lesson that Yaakov taught has made every body all over the world believe that Eretz Yiserael is the land where we get a chance to witness the finger of hashem

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Exodus 8:15

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