After five plagues came and went, you'd think that Pharaoh would have figured out that more were on the way if he didn't let the Jews leave Egypt, but I think we all know that it is really really hard to cut slave labor loose once you get used to it. One might note that these conditions still exist around the world today - from sweatshop basements and brothels in New York City to the indentured construction workers building skyscrapers in Dubai - but that is far more serious than I want to be, given that the sixth plague is boils. But I duly note that injustice continues without divine intervention. So after the "very grievous murrain" fucks with the Egyptian livestock but Pharaoh still refuses to free the Jews, God tells Aaron to throw some soot around. The dirt led to boils infesting the skin of the Egyptians and whatever livestock hadn't been fucked up by the "very grievous murrain." When I was growing up, my grandparents used Haggadahs at our abbreviated Passover Seders that they somehow got free from Maxwell House coffee. These books also had some very graphic depictions on the plagues, and I was always transfixed by the boils. They were drawn as ginormous lumps leaking pus off a guy's arm. It was hard to eat gefilte fish after looking at something like that. My guess is that there weren't enough sterile needles in ancient Egypt to properly lance all the pus-infested boils, so Pharaoh gave in and said the Jews could leave. Once the boils were gone and everyone felt comfortable in their 800 thread count Egyptian cotton robes, of course he changed his mind.

That's when the hail started. "Eh, what's the big deal about hail?" one might wonder. The Maxwell House coffee Haggadah indicated that this hail was mixed with flames, so that fire and ice rained down upon the Egyptians. The crops and whatever livestock still managed to survive were badly damaged. I partly wonder how the hail did not melt from the heat of the fire and then douse the fire, but whatever. That is why it is a miracle.

Tomorrow: Locusts and darkness. Which, if you think about it, didn't have to be two plagues. A huge swarm of locusts could blot out the sun and cause darkness. But again, I'm not here to question. I just want to relay a story and get it over with already.

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