Newsletter #3, 2015

Parashah Bo בא (Exodus 10:1-13:16)camposLangostas

In this parasha, the final three of the Ten Plagues strike Egypt: a swarm of locust eats off the crops, a mysterious darkness engulfs the land and all the first-born of the Egyptian are killed at midnight on the 15th of the month of Nissan. Hashem commands the very first mitzvah and establishes a lunar based calendar. The Israelites are introduced to their very first Passover by “offering” a lamb to be slaughtered and have its blood sprinkled on the doorpost, so G-d passes over these homes to spare their first-born from death. tinieblasThe roasted meat is eaten with matzah and the bitter herbs. The death of his firstborn is the last straw, and the Pharaoh finally lets the Israelites go. Hashem’s promise to Abraham that his descendants will leave with great wealth is fulfilled when the Israelites are given gold and silver by their Egyptian neighbors as they hastily leaving the land. Hashem commands the children of Israel to consecrate all firstborn, and to observe the anniversary of their departure from Egypt every year, by eating unleavened bread, getting rid of all leaven from their possession for seven days, and telling the haggadah of their redemption to their children. Faraon colorIt is interesting to note that they are also commanded to wear teffilin as a reminder of the Exodus symbolizing their full commitment to Adonai.
In the story of Exodus one of the most memorable phrases is: “Let my people go” as Moses pleads with the Pharaoh. This phrase became very popular beyond the Jewish community and often has been used for political purposes. However, the phrase ends with a very important expression that is often neglected and forgotten: – וְיַעַבְדֻנִי- “that they may serve Me”. While the call for freedom excites the human spirits, the true purpose of the Exodus was not just to go to a promised land and live happily ever after, but to receive God’s Torah and fulfill the Jewish destiny of serving Hashem by keeping his commandments and being a spiritual light to all the nations.
Freedom without a spiritual purpose is like a cruise ship without an ocean. While you could enjoy all the nice amenities onboard, what is the purpose of it if the cruise ship does not visit any ports? It was not enough just to let our people go, they had to go somewhere for a specific purpose. If the purpose of leaving Egypt was only to serve G-d, then where is the freedom you might ask? The Israelites would have still been slaves, only to serve God not the Pharaoh. However, Hashem gave the Israelites a mission, a sense of direction, meaning and purpose, which Pharaoh could not provide. The concept of freedom from a biblical perspective is unique, because it insists on the freedom of the individual to be free to devote him or herself utterly and without restraint to the service of God and to fulfill His will. It is also the freedom of choice to serve God for every Jew. As Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi says in Chapters of the Fathers 62: “there is no free man like the one who is involved with the study of Torah”.
Are you a Jew who is free? Or are you still slave in bondage in the Land of Egypt (secular world)? Hashem brought us out from Egypt to be free at last! ~~~~~~~~ Shabbat Shalom! Joseph


Lee Torah from Around the World #256 de la WUPJ aquí.

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