Throughout the parshiyos of Shmos and VaEra, Moshe asks Pharaoh to let the Jews go for three days to worship God. Well, as history attests, Pharaoh refused to let us go - indeed, God Himself assured Moshe that Pharaoh would refuse.
Nonetheless, suppose Pharaoh had said "You know, you're right. I bet if they have a break, they could come back and work much better later. Go ahead, take them out, see you back here in a few days."
What then? Would the Jews have come back?
(For all those who have been complaining that my posts have been too long -- how's that? :) )
A wonderful analysis of this, largely based on the Rashbam, can be found in Menachem Leibtag's recent shiur on Shmot (www.tanach.org, shiur 2). The bottom line is that he holds that Paro was punished not for freeing the Jews from slavery (which would have been considered a completely unreasonable request had Moshe had asked for it) but for denying his request for religious freedom!
You can subscribe to R. Leibtag's weekly shiur on his site. But the on-line HTML / V.C.R. is an interesting way of presenting the topics covered. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
I heard from R' Weinberg of NIRC that yes, they would have come back and the geulah would have had to come later...
My late grandfather taught me an idea related to this theme. Moses says – the Children of Israel have not listened to me, so how will Pharaoh listen
Rashi says this is a kal vachomer.
My grandfather explained it another way.
Hein bnei Yisrael lo shamu elay – the Children of Israel haven't listened to me , - v’aich – how will it be – yishmaeini pharo – if Pharaoh does listen? What will happen if he says we can go when the people have told e they want to stay? Then v’ani aral sfatayim – I won't have anything left to say.
The Malbi"m explains this as Hashem wanting Par'oh to deserve his punishment. He sent moshe with a more reasonable request, which he knew par'oh would deny, thus increasing his culpability.
I heard from R. Weinberg the same as anonymous stated. In essence, if Hashem said 3 days, it must be truth and would have to happen that way. The fact they left permanently is because they were chased out. In fact Pharoh after 3 days starts pursuing because somehow he expected them to return, although they were chased.
This is how I heard it and it makes sense to me.
I still suggest you abbreviate the posts on the front page like Gil does.
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