HaShem began to prepare Moshe, who was 80 years old, for his next encounter with Paraoh. His brother Aharon was 83 years old.
“Moshe, you and your brother Aharon are to go to Paraoh to demand that he free the Jews from slavery,” said HaShem. “But I will harden his heart and he will not let Bnei Yisrael go. All of Egypt will then witness amazing wonders and miracles. The entire land will recognize My greatness, and you, Moshe, will be the one to lead Bnei Yisrael out of Egypt.”
So began the next wave of ten awesome miracles, known as “The Ten Plagues.” Each plague lasted one week, followed by a 3-week period of rest to give Paraoh a chance to repent.
The two elderly, but fearless, brothers marched to the palace to face Paraoh. Upon seeing them, the king flew into a rage.
“What are you doing back here again?!” yelled Paraoh.
Aharon, the courageous spokesmen, said to the mighty king, “The G-d of Israel commands you to let my people go!”
Paraoh mocked him, “Oh… The G-d of Israel sent you, you say? Prove it! Let’s see a miracle!”
Aharon threw his stick onto the ground and it immediately turned into a slithering SNAKE.
“Ha! You call that a miracle?” Paraoh scoffed. “Don’t you realize that you are in Egypt, a land famous for magic? Any magician of mine can do the same thing! Let me show you… Magicians… turn your staffs into snakes!”
Paraoh’s magicians threw their staffs to the ground and… PRESTO! They all turned into snakes!
And then… POOF! The magicians turned the snakes back into sticks.
Then HaShem made the unimaginable happen — Aharon’s snake turned back into a stick… and swallowed up all of the magicians’ sticks!
“Now this is what we call a miracle!” admitted the defeated magicians.
This incredible feat quickly wiped the smug smile right off Paraoh’s face, yet he still refused to listen to HaShem’s message. For 3 weeks, Moshe repeated his warning, but to no avail. Alas, Paraoh’s heart proved to be as hard as a rock. It was time to unleash the first of “The Ten Plagues.”
The early Egyptians were very advanced in many areas of mathematics and science: They were expert chemists who knew how to preserve food and even human bodies (mummies) for thousands of years. They could build giant buildings out of such enormous and heavy stone blocks that today’s physicists are still wondering how it was done. Indeed, it was quite common for Egyptians to know how to perform magic, even young kids!
So when Aharon came and turned his staff into a serpent, they were less than impressed. “Big deal,” said Paraoh. “Any little Egyptian kid could do that trick.”
But then, when Aharon’s stick swallowed up their snakes… now that was something the Egyptian magicians couldn’t do, and that impressed even the grand masters of magic! Abracadabra!
The first letter of each of the plagues were carved on Moshe’s staff.
In English it sounds like DeTSaCH, ADaSH, BeACHaV and here it is in Hebrew.
דצ”ך (דם, צפרדע, כנים) עד”ש (ערוב, דבר, שחין) באח”ב (ברד, ארבה, חושך, מכות-בכורות)
Paraoh was not very frightened from the upcoming plagues,even when he saw the staff… probably since he couldn’t read Hebrew! (just joking)