by Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev
In the spiritual interpretations of Judaism, more meaningful than historical chronology is seasonal synchronicity. The plagues of Egypt precede Purim by almost a thousand years. Yet the date of a plague can be interpreted as being directly linked to and preparing for the dynamics of Purim.
In the plagues of Egypt, G-d merely overthrew an evil king. But in the story of Purim, G-d turned the heart of an evil king to favor Israel.
In the seed of the story of Egypt blossoms the story of Purim.]
“Hashem said to Moshe: Come to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart” (Shemos 10:1).
Why does the verse state “Come to Pharaoh,” whereas elsewhere the expression used is “Go to Pharaoh”?
Also: Why specifically in context of the plague of locusts does G-d state “I have hardened his heart”?
There are two types of miracles carried out for the sake of the Jewish people.
The first is that G-d punishes those who harm the Jewish people. As a result, the evil ceases.
The second is that G-d reverses the hearts of political leaders, so that they actually come to plan good things for the Jewish people.
To illustrate: in Megillas Esther, we find that Haman–not Achashveirosh–was punished. But G-d turned Achashveirosh’s heart to good in regard to His nation, the house of Israel.
All this is alluded to in this week’s Torah reading.
The sages teach that every plague lasted one month (Shemos Rabbah 9:12). We can deduce that the plague of locusts began in the middle of Shevat–thirty days before what would one day be Purim (in the middle of Adar).
Here on earth, we delve into the laws of a holiday thirty days before it begins (Pesachim 6a). This has a heavenly analogue. Thirty days before a holiday, the heavenly dynamics begin to prepare for that holiday.
The plague of locusts took place thirty days before what would one day be Purim. The event of the plague of locusts presaged the dynamics of Purim.
During the plague of locusts, G-d stated, “I have hardened his heart.” This indicates that Pharaoh’s heart was under the control of G-d.
And we have a general principle that “the good always outweighs the bad” (Sotah 11a).
So if G-d has the power to harden Pharaoh’s heart, He is certainly able to carry out His tendency to turn hearts to the good: that is, to reverse the hearts of political leaders and advisors for good regarding His nation, the house of Israel.
This indicates that in the time of Purim, the heart of Achashverosh would actually turn to the good.
In accordance with this, we can interpret as follows:
G-d told Moshe: “Come to Pharaoh.”
But how could Moshe bring himself close to the evil Pharaoh?
G-d explained to Moshe: “Come to Pharaoh”–meaning, “Bring yourself close to him. You may ask how you can approach such an evil man. The answer is that I have hardened his heart.
Therefore, he is given over into My hand–and the good always outweighs the bad. Thus, I can turn everything to the good for my nation, the house of Israel.”