Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bo from 2007

The beginning of parshah Bo is the remainder of the ten plagues from Va Era. Moses warns the Pharaoh that locusts are next. They will eat all that has been leftover from the last plague, hail. So Pharaoh’s people convince him to concede, which does... almost. He stops to ask who will be going to worship G-d in the desert. When he finds out that the daughters and livestock will be going and not just the males, he changes his mind.

So, come the locusts to cover the land and eat the remainder of the land, as mentioned above. Pharaoh can’t take it. He calls for Moses and Aaron, “enough already, I’ll let you go, ok.” Ah, if it were only that easy. G-d made Pharaoh’s heart hard and he once again didn’t let the Israelite leave.

The ninth plague was darkness, darkness everywhere. Pharaoh acquiesced but, changed his mind. He was on a bit of a role with that.

Ah, the TENTH and FINAL plague: death of the first born. Now this was such a fitting plague. The Egyptians had this and that way of going after the first born. First they asked the midwives: Shifrah and Puah to check the birthstool for male babies and exterminate them. When they made excuses, then the Egyptians just decreed for the male babies to be thrown into the river. Now it was payback, all their first born males, animals and people, including Pharaoh’s son died around midnight.

This is when Nisan was instituted as the first month of the year because this is when the Israelites left slavery that had lasted more than a generation. Thus, these Israelites had spent their whole lives as slaves to Egypt. Pesach, the holiday that is upon us, started right here in this parshah. One was to pick out their lamb on the tenth of Nisan and then hold on to it until the fourteenth of Nisan.

On the fourteenth of Nisan, all Israelites would slaughter their lamb in the afternoon. They would then put the blood on the three sides of the doorframe on the outside. The lamb was roasted over a fire. Any left over was to be burned. It was to be eaten in haste.

The blood on the doorposts will cause G-d to pass over that house and not afflict it. From there it is discussed that one should clear their homes of anything leavened and they will not eat anything leavened for the duration of the Festival of Matzahs. It stresses that one does not get out of this if they are a convert or living outside of Israel. The Israelites did this exactly.

The final plague was exacted. Someone died in every house. Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. He was so ticked, he not only let them leave, he couldn’t wait to get rid of them. So the people had to leave without their dough rising. They also borrowed gold and silver from the Egyptians.

It goes on to state that no gentile man may eat the passover sacrifice. They can become covenanted to G-d but, they may not eat it without that covenant (circumcision).

All first born males that initiate the womb, both man and beast must be sanctified unto G-d. Also, the Festival of Matzahs will continue for all time. We must explain to our child that we keep this festival because G-d acted on our behalf.

This is personalized for me because G-d has just delivered me from Harlem, a land very much NOT flowing with milk and honey to here in Queens, just in time to be fresh on my mind for my first Pesah.

These words will be included in the Tefillin. Passover will be a law for all time. This is where the redemption of the first born was instituted. All of this is because G-d brought us out of Egypt (and in my case, Harlem). We must remember G-d and his mercy to deliver us from our oppressors.

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