Torah Weekly

For the week ending 23 January 2010 / 7 Shevat 5770

Parshat Bo

by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair -
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G-d tells Moshe that He is hardening Pharaoh's heart so that through miraculous plagues the world will know for all time that He is the one true G-d. Pharaoh is warned about the plague of locusts and is told how severe it will be. Pharaoh agrees to release only the men, but Moshe insists that everyone must go. During the plague, Pharaoh calls for Moshe and Aharon to remove the locusts, and he admits he has sinned. G-d ends the plague but hardens Pharaoh's heart, and again Pharaoh fails to free the Jews. The country, except for the Jewish People, is then engulfed in a palpable darkness. Pharaoh calls for Moshe and tells him to take all the Jews out of Egypt, but to leave their flocks behind. Moshe tells him that not only will they take their own flocks, but Pharaoh must add his own too. Moshe tells Pharaoh that G-d is going to bring one more plague, the death of the first-born, and then the Jews will leave Egypt. G-d again hardens Pharaoh's heart, and Pharaoh warns Moshe that if he sees him again, Moshe will be put to death. G-d tells Moshe that the month of Nissan will be the chief month. The Jewish people are commanded to take a sheep on the 10th of the month and guard it until the 14th. The sheep is then to be slaughtered as a Pesach offering, its blood put on their door-posts, and its roasted meat eaten. The blood on the door-post will be a sign that their homes will be passed-over when G-d strikes the first-born of Egypt. The Jewish People are told to memorialize this day as the Exodus from Egypt by never eatingchametzon Pesach. Moshe relays G-d's commands, and the Jewish People fulfill them flawlessly. G-d sends the final plague, killing the first-born, and Pharaoh sends the Jews out of Egypt. G-d tells Moshe and Aharon the laws concerning the Pesach sacrifice,pidyon haben(redemption of the first-born son) andtefillin.


A Multitude of Mitzvot

“...and you shall not break a bone of it (the Pesach offering)” (12:46)

In 1940 during the Second World War, my mother and her whole family were evacuated from to London to Henley-on-Thames because of the ‘blitz’.

They were lucky. Often families were divided, with some children being evacuated to places as far away as Canada; while other children stayed with their parents in the relative safety of the English countryside.

One can well imagine the tremendous outpouring of emotion that took place when the war ended and these families were reunited. But after the initial overwhelming emotion, it became clear that the bond between the parents who had stayed with their children was far closer than their relationship with those children from whom they had been separated for over four years.

We think that because we love our children, we give to them. The reverse, however, is also true. Because we give to our children, we love them.

Every time you get up in the middle of the night to get your child a glass of water or to change his diaper, you are giving, and that giving leads to love.

This is the reason that children rarely love their parents as much as the parents love them. The parents are usually the givers and the children, the takers

People often say to me, “I would love to have your faith! But I just don’t feel what you feel.

A person doesn’t just give to that which he loves, he also loves that which he gives to.

When you give to G-d by doing what G-d wants you to do, it’s the spiritual equivalent of getting up in the middle of the night to give you child a glass of water. The action of giving evokes love in the giver.

That is the reason why G-d gave us so many mitzvot.

For surely if we just wanted a memorial of the Exodus, then it would suffice to eat a little matza, or read the story of the Exodus at the Seder.

But G-d gives us a multitude of mitzvot that so that we will be deeply affected emotionally, and our hearts will be drawn to a powerful love for the Creator.

  • Sources: based on The Sefer HaChinuch and Rabbi E. Dessler, zatzal

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