A Bissel Torah: Bo


In last week’s torah portion, Vaera, we see a progression in G-d’s lesson to Egypt and Pharaoh:

  1. Moshe appears to Pharaoh and says, G-d sent me to demand Let My People Go. Pharaoh replies, who is your G-d, I have never heard of Him.  Exodus 5:2.
  2. G-d brings in the lice, and Pharaoh’s court could not do the same, and they said, “it is the finger of Elokim.” Exodus 8:15.  Elokim is the G-d who created the world with the attribute of Judgment.  The world was supposed to run on pure Judgment until Adam sinned, and G-d saw that humans could not live without the coexisting attribute of mercy, permission to repent.  Elokim is Aristotle’s first being, who created the world and left it to its domino effect.  It is a starter for the Egyptians, an acknowledgement of a greater being.
  3. The hail is sent down from G-d: Pharaoh unequivocally states:  I sinned this time, Hashem is the righteous one.”  Exodus 9:27. Pharaoh finally acknowledges that there is Hashem, the one who created the world, who supervises it daily, and who is the Righteous One.  But he limits it to “this time,” not plenary.

In this week’s torah portion, the lesson to Egypt of G-d’s daily existence and his omnipotence continues:

  1. After the locust plague, Pharaoh calls to Moshe and says, Exodus 10:16:

“I have sinned against G-d, your G-d and you. Now please forgive my sin this time and pray to G-d…”  In this instance he doesn’t limit his sinning against G-d “this time,” as he did in last week’s parshah.  His ego is breaking down.

  1. After the plague of the death of the first born, Pharaoh calls to Moshe and tells him that the Jews could leave unconditionally, and finishes with Berachtem gam oti/Bless me as well.  A final capitulation that it is from G-d that blessings are bestowed.

Finally we see the sanctification of G-d and His name and power.  The plagues were not merely to reveal to the Jews that G-d was intervening on their behalf, but it was  a proclamation to Egypt and to all the nations of the world who would hear about the miracles and G-d’s hand in the miracles that would firmly establish G-d’s name on the world stage, rather than it being a local phenomon surrounding the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The end of the Parshah, G-d, through Moshe, establishes his eternal relationship with the Jews.  He provides them with the first commandment of establishing the first day of the month, for every month, so that the Jews could establish their holidays dedicated to G-d.

G-d was saying, I am not taking you out of Egypt as an act in and of itself, but to establish you as my nation and establishing my eternal sovereignty of you as my people.

G-d provides us with our first commandment which is an eternal commandment relevant for all Jews, and then establishes that the exodus of Egypt is a seminal event that is to be remembered forever.  It is the first step of a coronation process.  When one king conquers a nation, the conquered nation owes its loyalty forever to the new king, who establishes His sovereignty over the nation and provides for them eternally.  So too with G-d.

The coronation process continues with the giving of the Torah, and finally with bringing the Jews to G-d’s land where they can live a sanctified life.

G-d starts with, you owe me for having taken you out of slavery.  Then gives them the jewel of the Torah, which binds them together like a ring under the chupah, and the He takes His people to His home.

It is our hope, that we merit a resumption of the our relationship with G-d as it was many years ago, so that he brings the ultimate redemption and brings us all home, speedily in our time.

Good Shabbos.



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