What does it mean "they made them work b'Farech"?
Rashi (by implication and Ramban (on Pasuk 11): When they saw that their plan was not working, they decreed that all Egyptians were permitted to subjugate Yisrael with back-breaking work. 1
Seforno: They actually turned them into slaves. 2
Da'as Zekenim, from Sotah (11b): "B'Farech" is the acronym of 'be'Feh Rach' - with a soft mouth, meaning that Pharaoh tricked them into hard work by offering them so much for each brick that they produced. 3
Rosh: It refers to separation. They separated the men from their wives.
To pick whoever they choose to work for them and to perform any menial task that they ordered them to (Ramban).
Even going so far as to show them how it's done. And when they produced a large quantity of bricks the first day, he forced them to continue to produce the same number, each and every day, without payment (Sotah, 11b).
What is the Torah adding here? What did the Egyptians do now what they did not do before?
Ramban: They now forced them to perform hard labor with mortar and bricks. 1 Furthermore, they now forced them to perform all manner of work, such as digging pits and carrying out the trash, at all hours, without break. And all this, accompanied by beatings and curses.
Rashbam: Until now, they only had to work in the town; from now on, they had to work in the fields too, 2 such as plowing and harvesting.
Seforno: As their behavior deteriorated still further, in both deed and ideology, 3 the Egyptians embittered their lives even more than before.
Which hitherto had been provided by the king, but which, from now on, they had to manufacture themselves, including the preparation of the mortar (with only the straw provided [Ramban]).
Over and above that they had to do in town, all of which was backbreaking (Rashbam).
למפרשים שהעבידו את ישראל ב'פה רך', קשה למה לא פרשו "פרך" כפשוטו?
מהר"ל (גבורות ה' פט"ו עמ' עב ד"ה ויעבידו): בפסוק הבא כתוב "את כל עבודתם...בפרך" ולכן כאן זה בא לדרשה.
למפרשים שהעבידו את ישראל ב'פה רך', קשה שפשוטו של מקרא "פרך" פרושו עבודה קשה?
מהר"ל (גבורות ה' פט"ו עמ' עב ד"ה ויעבידו): "פרך" פרושו עבודה קשה, אבל עשו זאת על ידי 'פה רך'.