In Parshas Bo, by the plague of arbeh- locusts, there is a peculiar verbiage that begs explanation. It is written, “VaHashem nihog ruach kadim boaretz kol hayom hahu vichol halayla etc.”- “And Hashem guided an east wind through the land all that day and all the night”. Why did the Torah write ‘hahu’- that day? Wouldn’t it have sufficed to write “all day and all night”?
Rav Avrohom Yitzchok Shain offers a wonderful explanation. Rashi tells us that the duration of each of the makos was one week, and three weeks were spent warning Paroh of the impending plague. We know that makas bechoros took place on the fifteenth of Nissan. Accordingly, the plague of choshech arrived on the fifteenth of Adar. It remains, that the plague of arbeh that immediately preceded choshech, took place on the fifteenth of Shvat- Tu B’Shvat.
The Gemorah in Mesechta Rosh Hashana points out that Tu B’Shvat is the Rosh Hashana for trees. This is because, at that point, most of the rainy season has passed, the sap has begun pulsating through the tree branches, and the fruit begins to bud. Annually, this day is cause for tremendous joy. The simcha of experiencing the renewed growth of the fruit trees is immeasurable.
While Mitzrayim was enduring the devastation of the locusts and the destruction of their entire crop, the rest of the world was ushering in the fresh crop and rejoicing with the prospect of the incoming bounty of luscious fruit. The date that was usually marked as a festive occasion, had been transformed into a day of calamity and heartbreak for Mitzrayim.
This may be the meaning intended by the extra word- ‘hahu’. That specific day, that special day of Tu B’Shvat, that perennially heralded exciting tidings and good fortune, became a day of tremendous misfortune for the Egyptians. This was the day that Mitzrayim became a laughing stock, evident to the entire world.
Aside from the great simcha of Tu B’Shvat, the Yidden enjoyed an additional cause for happiness. They were enabled to witness, personally, the revenge on their enemies with the devastation wrought by the swarms of locust. This makka was the harbinger for the ensuing hunger and the catalyst to finally free them from the shackles of slavery.
The seforim hakedoshim tell us that as a Yom Tov arrives, we are zoche to experience the kochos and hashpaos that were actuated on that specific day, back in time.
May we merit that on this day we be granted tons of delicious fruit. Additionally, may this be a day that are enemies and oppressors are vanquished just as on Tu B’Shvat in Mitzrayim.