May 19, 2024
Parashat Bo

When you Choose Shabbat, you choose to learn that every Shabbat is different and special. This week I learned that Parashat Bo (Exodus 10:1 through 13:16) is the 15th weekly Torah portion in the annual cycle of Torah readings. According to Wikipedia, Bo contains 6,149 Hebrew letters, 1,655 words, 106 verses and 207 lines of the Torah Scroll. The underlying narrative of Bo‎, (בֹּא‎), translated as the command form of “go” or “come“, continues the narrative of the last three plagues that befell Egypt (locusts, darkness, slaying of the first born) and the story of Passover.

Rabbi Michael D Klein of Temple Torat Emet offers his insights on this week’s Torah reading, Bo:

“We read the story of our birth as a national entity in this week’s Torah portion. Before this time we were a connected group of tribes with common language, customs, and laws. There is no turning back to Egypt, despite the yearnings of some who are fearful and cannot rid themselves of the mentality of slavery. We must move forward as we escape the chains of slavery and the rigid idol-worship of the Egyptian culture toward the freedom of belief in one G-d and in the fulfillment of the promise of the Land of Israel which was promised to us if we remain true and faithful in our beliefs and practices.

  1. As we left Egypt, why did the Egyptians willingly give up their gold and jewelry to the Jewish people?
  2. What law do we observe today that is tied to the lamb’s blood being painted on our doorposts?
  3. What are the 4 parshiyot contained in Tefillin that relate to the story of Passover?
  4. Give several practical reasons why we left Egypt hurriedly .
  5. At what time of day did the final plague of Makat Bechorot occur? Why does this add a measure of drama to the narrative?

It is amazing to consider that a small group of 70 people who entered Egypt 400 years earlier left with as such a large multitude. There were perhaps 600,000 people who left and among them were people of unknown or mixed heritage who would have a profound effect on later events.

It is a reflection of our Jewish lives, that the story of freedom is not always straight and easy, but sometimes includes many zigs and zags including doubts, rebellions, miracles, setbacks, and human drama. Our lives also include these elements but the lesson must always be that we move from darkness to light and from despair to hope for a better tomorrow. This is the optimism of those who believe in G-d and follow the Torah. May we always have the courage to move forward toward the freedom and ways from mindless slavery and drudgery. May this story inspire us for many generations to come. Amen!”

Rabbi Michael D. Klein

Rabbi Michael D. Klein attended Yeshiva College of South Florida and served as Torah Reader, Hebrew teacher, Chazzan and spiritual leader of various synagogues throughout South Florida. In January 2015 he became Ritual Director, Bnai/Bnot Mitzvah instructor and 7th grade Hebrew instructor for Temple Torat Emet of Boynton Beach. In October 2019 he was accepted into an accelerated track and received his shicha from Yeshiva Adath Wolkowisk and has been the Rabbinic leadership of Temple Torat Emet since August 2020. In September of 2022 he was appointed Rabbinic and Spiritual Advisor of the Florida Region of FJMC.

Choose Shabbat; choose to celebrate, to light candles, sing songs and learn a little Torah.

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