The Akeda Foundation
"We are our brothers and sisters keepers".
D’rosh Bo, (Command Word, Tr. “Come/Go): (Ex.10): Haftorah (Prophetic Lesson): Jeremiah( XLVI,13-28).
Candle Lighting: 4:26 pm
Date: January 20, 2018 ; 4 Shevat 5778.
Specials: Malvin Albert Robinson (Reb ’Z Dad) 88th Bar Mitzvah Anniversary ;Rosh Chodesh (new Jewish Calendar Month) Shevat
January 16-18, 2018;29Tevet 5778(sundown)-2 Shevat 5778. Rev. Martin Luther King’s B’Day,Monday,Jan.15,2018.
Bo (Go unto Pharaoh), (Ex. X: 1-2) an action word of the truest sense has G-d commanding Aaron and Moses to go to Pharaoh to get the Israelites released from Egypt. So far seven plagues have brought empty promises but no release. One can feel G-d’s frustration growing and tiring of the signs, wonders plague games. This is vexing because we are all created in G-d’s image including our hearts, souls and minds. Release should have been a slam dunk early on. Frank Sinatra’s version of the hit “My Way” metaphorically describe via the lyrics one’s control over life’s choices. The refrain always came back to doing things…”My Way”…
Why? Perhaps there was a revenge factor, a payback, for the killing of the Israelite first born in its simplest form; G-d was not ready to release the Israelites. G-d wanted the Egyptians to feel the pain of the 400 years of captivity which the Israelites suffered under the reign of the Pharaohs. It crystallizes with the Tenth Plague (Ex.Xl:1-10; 12:Ex.Xll: 29-36) after the failure of the Eighth Plague, Locusts, (Ex.X:3-20). and the Ninth Plague ,Darkness,(Ex.X:21-29) fail to secure their release ,even after being given warnings by Moses and Aaron for the following: Plagues 1(Blood),2 (Frogs) ,4 (Wild Beasts), 5(Cattle),7(Hail),8(Locusts),and 10 (Killing of the Egyptian First Born). There were no warnings for Plagues 3(Gnats), 6(Boils) and 9(Darkness).
Even the ten plagues were symbolic to their Egyptian captors, as it takes us back to Dirty Harry’s…”a man’s (woman) got to know his (her) limitations. G-d knew that Pharaoh’s would require the killing of all the Egyptian male first born without exclusion. One way to look at the release-non release issue is that Pharaoh, seeing himself as being invincible, was testing how far things would go even with warnings. G-d knows this and seems to be toying with Moses and Aaron as well. But in the end G-d says “Dayenu” (Enough) and gives the instructions to Moses and Aaron to prepare themselves for the “Passover” by the angel of death of homes containing Israelites. Tradition has it that the first male kid or lamb would be slaughtered and offered for sacrifice with the balance eaten. Blood would be used on the lintels to identify Israelites (today’s Mezzuzah). They would take and eat greens which were identified later as ‘bitter herbs’ also part of the Passover Festival.
Pharaoh feeling the anguish of loss throws the Israelites out of Egypt. Unleavened Bread, Matzo, became the first fast food (that’s right it beat “McD’s, Taco Bell, and KFC”) as the bread did not have time to rise before “The Exodus” took place. But it gets better because ”stiff necked” used to describe toughness has as a companion Chutzpah, ‘nerve’ as the Israelites asked the Egyptians to share their gold, silver and other valuables. G-d made a promise to Abraham to send the Israelites from bondage with great wealth. Is this it, or could it be the strength of survival and unconditional faith?
The first three Parshiot (segments), in the Book of Exodus- Shemoth, Va’eira and now Bo, are a character check for the Israelites asking ourselves what kind of human beings are we .Kind? Gracious and sharing? Tolerant and Respectful of others? Gentle? And perhaps the toughest of the traits---Forgiving? Our we vengeful, hurtful, quick to judge others? Do we strike out at strangers and those we love? Do hold prejudicial feelings about any ideas or individuals that are unfamiliar rather than learn about them? Are we fair and open minded?
As our Parsha ,Segment, closes with all the first born males are circumcise ,there will be a celebration of the Exodus from Egypt telling its story of redemption( Passover Seder)where only unleavened bread /foods are eaten for seven days and there is the commandment to wear Tefillin (Phylacteries on one’s arm and head containing The Shema prayer- praising the oneness of G-d)Ex.Xlll:1-16). and celebrate the New Moon; Rosh Chodesh This was/is the first month on the Jewish Calendar, Nissan.
It’s easy and probably unfair to sit back and say G-d should have taken the softer side approach using life not death to break Pharaoh’s resolve. In fact, speaking strictly for myself (although we’ve all been there), there have been times at first blush that I wanted to get even against someone or something. But while revenge may be the quick fix, the reflective softer side response will serve one’s soul. How many of us have said things in anger or without facts to hurt someone or with bad facts that prompts “a rush to Judgment” without a foundation. So here we are back to Pharaoh who out of fear tried to take the dignity away from the Israelite Nation. The lesson all human suffering and indignity is unacceptable, instead we must look to the spark of ‘the Shechinah’s (Divine Spirit) goodness of each person.
Bo teaches us about the Festival of Passover (Ex.Xll:14-20, 43-51) and the importance of leadership, liberty and unconditional faith. It teaches us about the customs of the Passover Seders (2) that will pass L ’Dor v’Dor (Generation to Generation) thanks to G-d’s emissaries Moses and Aaron. They were the right folks at the right time in the right positions .There is a serious message about leadership. It doesn’t matter if one tries to “fly below the radar” if you are selected to lead like Moses and Aaron, it will happen. Self -doubt is not necessarily a bad thing but in the end go with your instincts, ‘your gut’.
Moses and Aaron did not have the luxury of selecting “one of the two roads converging in the woods”….G-d put them “on the road less traveled by”…—Speaking for myself, I am glad it turned out that way. We are all better for it.
And make no mistake about it G-d’s anthem during the Exodus process is “My Way”. For clearly G-d orchestrated the entire Exodus… “and did it my way”…
Shabbat Shalom /A Peaceful Sabbath / Shavuah Tov /A Good Week/ Reb’Z/ Stu