The Jews Become the Enemy of the State

Yosef, his brothers, and their entire generation had passed on. A new era was beginning in Mitzrayim, and with it came a new attitude. When the Jews had first entered the land, they were received as celebrated guests. After all, they were brothers of the great Yosef who had saved the nation. That sense of appreciation was gone. No longer were the Jews respected and revered; no longer were they welcome. They had become a thorn in the side of the Mitzrim.

Hashem promised Avraham that his children would be slaves in Mitzrayim, yet they would be redeemed and would leave with great wealth. And so, when it was time to leave Mitzrayim, Hashem told Moshe to tell the Jews to borrow the silver and gold vessels of their Egyptian neighbors.

After months and months of rebellion, Pharaoh finally admitted that he was wrong. The Daas Z’keinim explains that the plague of hail moved Pharaoh more than any other. And it was because of one factor: Again and again, Moshe cautioned Pharaoh to take his livestock and his slaves inside, because the hail would kill anything living that was left outside. Since Pharaoh was repeatedly warned to save the living creatures, he was moved and recognized his error.

For 22 years, Yaakov Avinu was in a state of mourning. His beloved son, the one who most closely followed in his ways, the one whom he envisioned as the leader of the next generation, had been taken from him while still a youth. For all those years, Yaakov was inconsolable. Now the brothers came back with the news, “Yosef is still alive!” At first, Yaakov could not believe it – it just couldn’t be. The brothers convinced him that it was true by showing him the wagons that Yosef had sent.