December 30, 2021 / 26 Tevet, 5782 • Parshat Va'eira
Issue 699
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman

Combining Mercy and Severity

The hail was very heavy, with flashing lightning in the midst of the hail

Exodus 9:24

Water and fire derive from and express the Divine attributes of mercy and severity, respectively. Thus, the uniqueness of the plague of hail was its

blend of ice and fire, Divine mercy and severity. Similarly, although this

was a particularly severe plague, as indicated by the harsh warning

preceding it, this very warning included merciful instructions how to avert it.

Only G-d can override nature and combine fire and ice. In the same way, it is only by rising above our natural limitations and connecting ourselves to G-d that we can be both strict and merciful at the same time—both for our own benefit and for the benefit of others.

—from Daily Wisdom #1