Each of the ten plagues that Hashem brought on the Egyptians
had its unique features and phenomena, as each one was sent
to teach and demonstrate a new aspect of Hashem's rulership
of the world. The second plague of frogs is no exception,
and I would like to share some interesting phenomena of this
We learn in the Chumash that when Moshe was told to
go and warn Pharaoh that an impending plague of Frogs would
be sent against the country if Pharaoh refused to allow the
Yidden to leave, the word "frogs" is always mentioned
in the plural.
When the plague actually smote Egypt, the Torah writes
Vata'al hatzefardei'a, the frog came, using the
Rashi explains that when the actual plague arrived, it began
with only one frog and this single frog multiplied until
frogs occupied the whole land of Egypt, and they were not
afraid to enter the Egyptian homes, their bedrooms, the
Egyptian beds, their kneading troughs and their ovens.
The source of the Rashi is the gemora in Sanhedrin
67, where the gemora brings a discussion between
Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Elozor Ben Azarioh: Tzefardei'a
achas hoisoh, hishritzoh unmol'oh kol eretz Mitzrayim,
it was a single frog that swarmed and filled all the land of
Egypt -- to which Rashi adds the words, hishritzoh
mimei'eho veyoldoh velodos, it swarmed from its stomach
and bore tadpoles. Rabbi Elozor Ben Azarioh learned however,
Tzefardei'a achas hoiso, sherokoh lohem veheim bo'u,
it began with one frog which croaked and the others came. To
this Rashi adds: The single frog croaked to them,
veshom'u koloh kol hatzefarde'im shebo'olom, veheim
bo'u, this single frog croaked and all the frogs of the
world (on hearing this tune) came to Egypt. The frogs of the
world were attracted by the tune of this singular frog.
The Rokeach actually explains the word tzefardei'a as
being made up of two words: tzippor dei'oh:, a bird
with understanding (of how to attract other frogs).
It is extremely interesting that there exists a frog known
as the Red-Eyed Tree-Frog that inhabits the Caribbean rain
forests of Puerto Rico. It is also commonly known as a "bird
frog" (Agalychnis callidryas). Although it looks like
a frog and belongs to the frog family, it has some very
First it is known as the bird frog because instead of making
the usual croaky sound of a frog, it actually sings like a
bird and is famous for its beautiful voice. In Puerto Rico
guided tours are available to the rain forest which are
organized for the sole purpose of listening to the unique
singing of the bird frog. The inspiring tune of this frog
actually attracts other frogs by the thousands.
From all the biological family of frogs, the tree frog is
the most mellow, and it is known not to be frightened of
humans at all. They possess bright red eyes and colorful
bodies that make them look extremely frightening. They also
possess suction cup toe pads which aid them when attaching
themselves to articles, allowing them to hang upside down
for long periods of time and holding on so tightly that it
can be difficult to remove them.
The mother frog lays about 300 eggs at a time and all the
300 tadpoles hatch simultaneously -- within a total time
span of only one minute.
It is perhaps this bird frog that could have been the
initial frog that descended on Egypt and, through its
beautiful singing, attracted all other frogs to join him in
invading the Egyptian continent.
Now we can understand how through this phenomenal
reproduction of 300 new frogs, all produced in one minute,
one frog produced a plague of swarming frogs. Its unique
suction feet would also help it to attach itself to the
Egyptian kitchen utensils and bedrooms, and make it almost
impossible for the Egyptians to remove these creatures. Its
bright red eyes and brightly colored body produced a very
This single bird frog has all the characteristics quoted by
the various opinions of Chazal.