Passover Seder Modern Relevance

In every English version of the Haggadah that I have seen, there is one word that is always translated incorrectly.

When listing the Ten Plagues that smote the Egyptians, second one in Hebrew is called Tzefardeya. This is always translated as Frogs. But the original Hebrew is in the singular. The translation should be Frog.

Now indeed, it is a little awkward to translate it literally. One frog hopping around does not seem like much of a plague. And to be fair, in many languages the singular form can denote a group, so perhaps Frog can mean Frogs. But there must be a reason why the Haggadah calls this plague the plague of a frog. Lice is in plural, so why is frog singular?

The talmudic tradition answers that actually, the plague of frogs started with one single frog. A large frog emerged from the Nile River. The Egyptians saw it, and knowing that Moses had warned them there would be a plague of frogs, attacked the giant frog with sticks. As they struck the frog, it started spewing hundreds and thousands of little frogs, which quickly spread over the entire land. The more they hit, the more frogs appeared.

So indeed the plague started with a frog singular. It was the Egyptian reaction that caused frogs plural.

Those foolish Egyptians were attacking the frog, but ignoring its root cause. The plagues were only coming because the Egyptians refused to let the Israelites go free. But rather than taking a hard look at themselves and changing their cruel behavior, the Egyptians looked at this big frog and tried to kill it. Which only led to more frogs.

There is a deep message behind this rather odd episode. Because so often we do the same silly thing as those Egyptians did.

We lose patience with our kids who are misbehaving, while the main reason for their playing up is because we don’t have patience to really listen to them in the first place.

We exacerbate issues unnecessarily by replying to all… in ALL CAPS

You get my drift… We hit these frogs, and all we get is more frogs.

Rabbi Menachem M Bluming and Rabbi Moss

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