Parshat Vaera – Irish buses and the Fourth Plague – Israel Repairing the World

Biblical illustrations by Jim Padgett, courtesy of Sweet Publishing, Ft. Worth, TX, and Gospel Light, Ventura, CA. Copyright 1984. Creative Common License

What is the connection between the fourth plague brought upon Egypt and Irish buses?

The fourth plague (in Hebrew, Arov) is usually translated as a plague of wild animals, based on the Midrash that explains the word to mean an “assortment”. However Rabbi Samuel David Luzzatto (19th century Italy) suggests otherwise. The Torah teaches that the Arov entered “the homes of Pharaoh and all the Egyptians” (Exod. 8:20). If this was wild animals, asks Rav Lazzatto, why didn’t they just lock their doors? And so he interprets the Arov to be an assortment, not of wild animals, but of flies and minute creatures that could enter through a locked door.

Today the world is suffering a plague of Arov – an invisible bug that is hard to shut out of our homes. However, unlike the ancient Egyptians, we are increasingly able to travel out of our homes in relative safety.

One technology helping us to travel on public transport is an Israeli air purifier, Aura Air, that submits filtered air to ultraviolet light to kill viruses and bacteria. In pilots of the technology in the United States, and at Sheba Medical Center in Israel, Aura Air neutralized various viruses, including coronavirus, at a rate of 99.9%. Today the product is already installed on over 400 UK and Irish buses, enabling key workers to travel safely to their destinations.

Yet another example of Israel Repairing the World.

Shabbat Shalom

Rav Leo

About the Author
The writer is the emeritus Rabbi of Radlett United Synagogue with a Masters degree in Public Health from Hebrew University and a lifelong career in finance.
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