Saturday, January 23, 2010

Shemot: Parshat Bo: Got the Message?

Through the reading of last week's parsha and this week's parsha - we see the awesome hand of G-d in the everyday lives of the Egyptians and Hebrews (Jews) through the plagues brought upon Egypt.

In the 6th aliyah/reading of Parshat Bo, we find the death of the first-born:
12:29 It was midnight and G-d struck down every first-born son in the land of Egypt, from the first-born son of Pharaoh sitting on his throne, to the first-born son of the captive who was in the dungeon, as well as every first-born animal.
12:30 Pharaoh arose at night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was no house where there were no dead.

Where was Pharaoh when death was dealt to Egypt? In 12:30 we see that he "arose at night". Rashi expands on this to bring us an amazing point... Pharaoh "arose" - from bed. What's the big deal? If it's the middle of the night - where else would he be?

Generally this would be true. However, we know that Pharaoh and the whole of Egypt was forewarned by Moses about this terrible plague back in 11:4-6.
...About the time of midnight, I will go out in the midst of Egypt. Every first born in the land of Egypt will die, from the first-born of Pharaoh sitting on his throne, to the first-born of the slave girl, behind the mill stones, and every first-born animal. There will be a great cry throughout the land of Egypt, the likes of which there never was and like there never will be.

Pharaoh knew that all the other plagues that Moses had foretold had come true -- wouldn't it worry him that all first-born males in Egypt were about to die? What about his own first-born son at least?

Rather than staying up worrying - Pharaoh got into his pajamas and went to sleep. Not a care in the world. Why would he do that?

He missed the message. Pharaoh was so firmly entrenched in his own faulty world view - no matter how clear the message was - he missed the message. After the nine other plagues had destroyed the land of Egypt, he was still blind to the path he needed to take. Pharaoh was willing to sacrifice his own child in order to maintain his world view.

We shouldn't miss the message. We must make sure to periodically re-evaluate our short-term and long-term goals. We should look for and find G-d in our everyday lives. Unlike Pharaoh, we shouldn't be sleeping when it comes to realizing the messages that are sent our way.

Shavua Tov - Have a good week.

Thank-you to Rabbi Felder of Shomrai Shabbos for this concept. Majority of this is his - I have changed it some. Any mistakes are mine.

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