We are told in this week’s parsha, Vaera, that the first of the 10 plagues, the turning of all the waters in Egypt, and especially of the Nile, into blood, took place in the presence of Pharoah and all his servants standing on the riverside.
Then a further verse reads: “And Pharoah turned around and came to his palace, and did not set his heart to this also”.
The K’sav Sofer, in his Torah commentary, ponders what exactly is meant by the expression “to this also”, because after all, the plague of blood was just the first of the 10 plagues.
He answers that when Pharoah arrived back at his royal palace, he must have witnessed all around him his own servants and officials suffering bitterly from their inability to drink any water, because all the sources of water had turned to blood.
This constituted the gravest crisis, as without water humans cannot survive.
Yet Pharoah, as a result of his arrogance, his perverted ideology and ardent desire to get the better of Moses whatever the cost, remained totally oblivious to the suffering of his own people.
We perceive precisely the same phenomenon today – the Iranian leaders, in their intense hatred of Israel and the West, are quite prepared to turn a blind eye to the suffering of their own citizens, currently reeling under the dire effect of harsh economic sanctions, and even recklessly to indulge in criminal and totally irresponsible activities they know may well imperil the lives of ordinary, innocent Iranians.
As history has sadly taught us, enmity initially directed against the Jews never stops with the Jews.
Rebbetzen Dina Golker is the assistant rebbetzin of St John’s Wood Synagogue