The Unlikely Passover Lesson from Dogs and Frogs

    March Passover 2007 Edition            
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Passover Lesson from Dogs and Frogs


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Opinion & Society


Dogs and Frogs

By Nachum Mohl

Dogs and frogs may seem like an odd combination to speak about on Passover, but both are mentioned in the story of the Exodus.

Frogs are mentioned in the ten plagues that Moses brought onto the Egyptians. One of the plagues was that of frogs - terrible hoards of frogs came out of the Nile and came into the Egyptians homes and totally disrupted their lives. The frogs went everywhere: in their kneading boards, into their food and it is related that they even went into their ovens where they died.

Dogs are mentioned during the Exodus that when the Jews left Egypt, the Torah tells us that not even one dog barked (Exodus 11:7). Rashi, the classic commentator, explains (in the Talmud) that because they did not bark, we are commanded to give them as a reward our animals that have died and are no longer kosher.

We note that the Torah requires us to give food to the dogs as a reward for not barking when we left Egypt, but we do not find anywhere that the frogs are rewarded for their giving their lives to do the will of G-d. The dogs did not do much, just keep quiet, but the frogs actually died! Why should the dogs deserve to get a reward - a reward that has continued for several thousand years - and the frogs who gave over their very lives get nothing? It seems unfair!

But the answer is very interesting:

We think that the frogs who gave their lives did a more difficult action and therefore deserve a greater reward. But that is our mistake! It is just the opposite!

It is easier to give up your life than it is to keep you mouth shut!

This is a great thing to know and if you doubt it, just look around your own life. How many people would be better off if they would just keep their mouths closed? But, no, they just have to have the last word. They can not tolerate some one else to have the last word in a stupid argument.

Next time you are in an argument with your spouse/friend/boss/co-worker/etc remember the dogs and the frogs and you will understand that what the dogs did was much more difficult than that which the frogs did.

Remember a lesson from the Passover story:

It is easier to give up your life than it is to keep you mouth shut!


from the March Passover 2007 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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