The Frog in the Oven
The river will swarm with frogs. They will
come up and enter your home, your bedroom, and your bed...
your ovens and your kneading bowls
relates that when Chananiah, Mishael and Azariah (three Jewish
officers in the court of Babylonian emperor, Nebuchadnezzar)
faced the choice to either bow before an idolatrous image
or be thrown into a fiery furnace, they took their lesson
from the frogs which plagued Egypt in Moses time. If
the frogs entered the ovens of Egypt to carry out the
will of G-d, they reasoned, we, certainly, should be willing
to sacrifice ourselves for our Creator.
To the Jew, self-sacrifice is more than the willingness
to die for his beliefsit is the way in which he lives
for them. It is the willingness to give up his very selfhis
most basic wants, desires and aspirationsfor the sake
of his relationship with G-d. Indeed, the Hebrew term for
self-sacrifice, mesirat nefesh, means both the
giving of life as well as the giving of will.
Thus, the lesson of self-sacrifice is derived from a froga
cold-blooded creaturewho enters a burning oven. The
ultimate test of faith goes beyond the issue of physical life
and death; it is the willingness to go against the grain of
ones nature for the sake of a higher truth.
Based on an address by the Rebbe, Shabbat Vaeira
. Likkutei Sichot, vol. I, p. 123.