Torah Weekly

For the week ending 4 February 2006 / 6 Shevat 5766

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 eating chametz on 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) and tefillin.


Just Do it!

“… you shall eat it in haste – it is a Pesach-offering to G-d.” (12:11)

You can always recognize the Negative Drive. His is the voice that says, “Just do it! Don’t think about it so much! JUST DO IT! Just say that spiteful word! Just eat that ice cream sundae without checking the hechsher (certification of kashrut). Just do it!

Any time the little voice inside you says “Just do it!”, say to it “Sure I’ll do it… but not right now. I’ll do it in another couple of seconds. I promise! ” (Don’t forget to cross your fingers behind your back!) The Negative Drive is very powerful, but he also suffers from ADD. Distract him for a few moments and the chances are that he’ll leave you alone, at least for the time being.

Being a fully-realized Jewish person means moving through life with much thought and care. However, there’s an exception to this.

Who hasn’t had the feeling of wanting to be a better person? Whether it’s standing in shul on Yom Kippur, or when faced by the reality of our own mortality and realizing how little we have accomplished in our lives. All of us have moments of spiritual awakening, flashes of insight and inspiration.

When those flashes burst across our consciousness, we must act on them immediately, concretize them in some small but oft-repeated action. If we are moved, say, to be more generous, we should undertake on the spot to give a small amount to charity every day. On the spot. (Only oft-repeated actions have the power to change who we are. The impact of the grand gesture fades as quickly as a firecracker.)

“… you shall eat it in haste – it is a Pesach-offering to G-d.”

The first moments of commitment to a greater contact with G-d must be done with zest and alacrity just like the eating of the Pesach-offering in . Just as the Jewish People left the fleshpots of with great haste, so too when we are inspired to be greater, more spiritual people, we must seize the moment and just DO it!”

  • Based on Reb Tzadok m’Lublin

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