THOUGHT FOR PARSHAT BO 5779

BY RABBI CHAIM FACHLER

 

Why were there Ten Plagues? And why davka those plagues? I haven’t seen that many explanations on either point, but I once heard a beginning of an answer.

 

Although the world was created in six days, HaShem used ten utterances to complete the Creation [Avot 5:1]. Apparently, the ten plagues contrast and correspond in reverse order to those ten utterances, the first two of which were “In the beginning” and the second was “Let there be Light”. So the penultimate plague – Darkness – is the opposite of “Let there be Light.” The destruction of the Egyptian firstborns made way for a New Beginning for Am Yisrael.

 

With this in mind, both the Creation and the Exodus were in their own right “A Beginning”. The Creation was “The” Beginning, while Yetziat Mitzraim was a “New” Beginning. Similarly, this week saw the beginning of the month of Shvat, an acronym for “Shenishma Besorot Tovot” (We should hear Good News). Every month signifies renewal – Chodesh from the word Chadash – New. Specifically, Shvat is the renewal of the cycle of the life of the trees and their fruits.

 

It is therefore no coincidence that we also see this week that the very first Mitzvah given to us as a people, at the very climax of the Exodus from Egypt, is sanctifying the New Moon – Kidush Hachodesh!

 

Being Jewish means experiencing constant renewal. HaShem never “calls it a day” with us. He doesn’t expect us to always be perfect, but He definitely encourages us to continuously renew our own personal commitment to Him, to His/our Torah, to our People, and of course to our Land.

 

This we can and should learn from Nature, from the Torah readings of these dramatic weeks, and from our parents’ and grandparents’ generation who after the horrors of the Holocaust, were able to rebuild their lives to achieve unbelievable new heights.

 

Am Yisrael, whether after the horrors of Egyptian slavery or after the terror of Nazi persecution, or under the constant threat of war and destruction by our neighbours, knows how to survive and thrive. AM YISRAEL CHAI!

 

Shabbat Shalom,