The firstborn Egyptian sons were terrified.
Many of them frantically ran to their fathers and pleaded, “Moshe is warning that the next plague will kill us. It’s The Plague of the Firstborn and I am a firstborn! Help! Save me!”
Others begged their fathers to convince Paraoh to let the Jewish slaves go. “No way!” answered the fathers. “If you want, you go to Paraoh… not us!”
The firstborn sons ran as fast as they could to Paraoh. His response was swift and predictable, “ABSOLUTELY NOT! NOW LEAVE!”
And so, on the 10th day of Nissan, rising up from fear and frustration, the revolt of the firstborn swept over Egypt. Bloody civil war broke out all over the land, while thousands of fathers were killed by their firstborn children.
A civil war is when people in the same nation fight against each other. Sometimes, this kind of war is even worse than a war fought against other countries.
In fact, during the American Civil War (1861-1865), 620,000 Americans died. That’s more than the lives America lost in all other wars combined. No wonder many folks comment, “there’s nothing civil about a civil war!”
The bloody civil war, when the Egyptians fought amongst themselves on the Shabbos before we left Egypt, was truly an amazing miracle.
To commemorate this great event, the Shabbos before Passover, is known as Shabbos HaGadol – The Great Shabbos.