I want to discuss three plagues: the Ninth Plague in the current Torah Portion, and the pair of Fourth and Seventh Plagues in last week’s Torah Portion.
Many modern commentators say the Ninth Plague, darkness, was intended to eclipse the sun god, Ra, of the Egyptians. None of the medieval commentators say that, but the Torah is replete with God (or Moses) saying, “and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.” (Ex. 7:5, 17; 8:6,18; 9:14; 10:2).
The pair of Plagues (Fourth and Seventh), hearken back to Joseph’s time. As you remember, Joseph saved Egypt (and the world) by stockpiling grain. As the Book of Exodus begins (the first paragraph recites Jacob’s family who went to Egypt), the Torah announces, “A new king over Egypt who did not know Joseph.”
The hail and swarms of locusts destroyed the crops, and it is fitting reminder that Joseph saved Egypt by stockpiling grain and a new king arose who did not know Joseph. The sin of forgetting Joseph would result in the destruction of the crops that Joseph stockpiled.