Some Thoughts for VaEra

This was cross-posted to the Jewish Motorcyclists Alliance.

Vayehezak lev Paroah…Sh’mot/Exodus7:13

“Pharoah’s heart hardened and he did not pay attention to them, as God had predicted.”

The midrash Tanhuma points out that in the first five plagues the Torah tells us that Pharoah’s heart hardened, whereas in the last five the Torah tells us that God hardened Pharoah’s heart.

Rav Yaakov Moshe Harlop asks how is it that Pharoah wasn’t moved during the first plagues? How was he even capable of remaining obstinate (hardening his heart) in the face of what was happening, of Moshe’s warnings of further disaster to come? How could he be unafraid?