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Only Ten Plagues, or More?

Rabbi Alex Israel / April 11, 2016

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The Hagaddah suggests that ten plagues afflicted Egypt, and fifty plagues afflicted them at the Sea. (It even suggests there were fifty, not ten, plagues in Egypt!) Is the number of plagues important? What can the varied enumerations and structures of the plagues as found in Tanakh and rabbinic literature teach us about their desired objective and effect?




Source Sheets


Rabbi Alex Israel

Rabbi Alex Israel teaches Tanakh at Yeshivat Eretz Hatzvi, Midreshet Lindenbaum and Matan, and director of Community Education, Summer Programs, and the Elmad online learning platform at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies.

Born and raised in London, Rabbi Israel moved to Israel in 1991 and received S'micha (Rabbinic ordination) from the Israeli Chief Rabbinate following several years of study at Yeshivat Har Etzion. Rabbi Israel holds degrees from London School of Economics, the Institute of Education, London, and Bar Ilan University.

His first book "I Kings - Torn in Two" was published in 2013 to great acclaim, and its companion volume “II Kings – In a Whirlwind” in 2019. Rabbi Israel has lectured widely at campuses and communities on five continents. His writings may be found at

Click here to access podcasts recorded by Alex Israel.


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