Parshat Bo

Parshat Bo el Paroh – “Come To Pharoah” (Exodus 10:1-13:16)

Spiritual liberation before the physical liberation.

G-d commands them to do three distinct and important actions.To declare a new month, the Seder meal and the Passover sacrifice and the blood on the lintel. Why?

Overview of Torah portion

In this Torah portion we read about last three of the Ten Plagues:

  • the first a plague of locusts who come in swarms that destroy much of Egypt’s crops;
  • the second was the plague of darkness that was overwhelming and palpable. Darkness usually means the absence of light and here it was something one could feel and touch.
  • And, finally in the middle of the night of the 15th of the month of Nissan all the first born  of the Egyptians are struck down.

It is then that G-d commands the Israelites three commandments that begin the process of spiritual liberation. These commandments will do much to break the psychological hold the Egyptians have had over the Israelite slaves.

G-d tells the people of Israel to declare the new month and by so doing establish forever the biblical calendar for this people.

G-d tells them to bring a lamb, the pagan deity of the Egyptians, into their home to slaughter as a Pesach sacrifice for the meal of faith that they were to have prior to their Exodus. It was clearly a meal of faith because they were celebration a redemption that had not yet happened.

G-d also demanded that the Israelites show great courage and faith by placing the blood of this same Egyptian deity on the lintels in full view of their past Egyptian task masters. It would be this act of courage that  would become  the sign of their walking into covenant with G-d as He passes over them.

Pharaoh finally sends the Children of Israel from his land. They are commanded by G-d to eat the unleavened bread as a sign, both of their hurried exodus from Egypt and also a sign of the lowly, humbled status necessary for redemption

G-d finally commands the Israelites regarding:

  • the laws of consecrating their firstborn child,
  • the rituals of the Passover celebration
  • and the commandment to bind on their arms and between their eyes the Teffilin, the Phylacteries, as a reminder both  of the exodus and of the relationship of obedience to the Beloved.

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Parshat Bo

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