Parashat Bo 5777
By HaRav Nachman Kahana
By HaRav Nachman Kahana
Our rabbis enacted the Pesach seder with its 15 functions and halachot to ensure that the memory of the miracles which HaShem performed for Am Yisrael in Egypt would not be forgotten.
Our ancestors sacrificed the korban pesach. So, the Torah commands that we do the same when the Bet HaMikdash is present on the Temple Mount. When the Bet HaMikdash was destroyed, our rabbis replaced the sacrifice with a symbolic piece of roast, commonly taken from the wing of a fowl. HaShem, via Moshe, commanded that the Jews at the first seder eat matzah and marror, and continue to do so at every subsequent seder.
Our rabbis ordained that we drink four cups of wine corresponding to the four stages of freedom which HaShem led us during the exodus.
However, there is a major element of that time which neither the Torah nor the rabbis included in the future sedarim or in its preparation – daubing blood on the mezuzot (door posts) and the lintels.
Why was this initial act of national emancipation not included in the pre-Seder ritual?
A cousin who lived in the States, told me of an unpleasant incident that occurred in her home close to Pesach. A Hispanic woman who cleaned her house every week for years, was working in the basement, when suddenly she screamed and came running up the stairs, grabbed her things and ran out of the house in a panic never to return. What ghosts had she seen there?
My cousin went down and noticed a small pool of borscht that she had made for Pesach in a corner of the sink. She concluded that the woman had seen the borscht, and true to what she was taught, believed that it was the blood of a gentile child which was being used in the baking of matzot.
The Torah and our rabbis were fully aware of the evil that lurks in the evil minds of Aisav’s descendants, and they attempted to preempt blood libels by omitting any use of blood on Pesach night.
An incident occurred that encapsulates the dire fate we suffered at the hands of European Christians during our 2000-year exile which the advent of Medinat Yisrael has reversed by 180 degrees.
It was Pesach eve in a small shtetel somewhere in Europe, that the body of a young boy was found near the river bank. The Jews knew that that night there would be a pogrom and they would all die.
They came together in the local shul, sat on the ground, tore their clothing and recited vidui (confession before dying) and counted the last moments of their lives.
Suddenly the doors sprang open and the shamash came running in screaming happily, “Brothers and sisters we are saved. A miracle has occurred – it was the body of a Jewish boy!”
In the eyes of the “world” thousands of missiles and rockets can rain down on Israel killing and maiming Jews, with no international response or condemnation of the perpetrators. But when Tzahal retaliates and one Arab is killed, the world stands on its hind legs and barks out their condemnation of the bloodthirsty Israelis.
But, in fact, we are already deaf to the irrelevant hypocrisies of the gentile, whether they spring out of the UN Security Council, the General Assembly or from the front page of the NY Times. But, thank HaShem, the Medina has shown that today Jewish blood is a very valuable commodity. The Jews are important to the future of mankind.
When the time is right
The last year of our presence in Egypt was a remarkable time for the Jewish people. The ten plagues took on a ritual, wherein during the first three weeks of the month, Moshe would warn the Egyptians what awaited them; then the plague would be active for one week. During this year, the Jews did not suffer slavery. Egyptian society was in disarray. The Egyptians were too busy healing their own wounds to care about the slaves. The army of overseers were struggling to save themselves and the Jews sat back to enjoy the suffering of their cruel captives.
On this background the question is, why did the Jews not simply get up and leave Egypt?
They had wealth, the Egyptian vehicles were at their disposal and there was no one to prevent their leaving; except for one man – Moshe. Moshe held them back, claiming that the time had not yet arrived. It will happen when HaShem gives the order, because there is a Godly agenda that has to be played out.
From the first time that Moshe came before Paro to speak up for the Jews, he emphasized over and over one word “shlach” – send. You paro will send us out of Egypt. You will come to me on your knees and publicly acknowledge that your gods are irrelevant, and beg the Jewish people to leave. What was, will occur again.
Even when the Jewish nation will fulfill our historic destiny by returning to Eretz Yisrael and to HaShem in tshuva (repentance), the great saga of this world will not have been fulfilled. Like Paro who fell on his knees in total submission to HaShem, declaring the irrelevance of his gods and the falsehoods of his religious system; so too will the nations of the world, in our time, stand as one man and declare as in the words of the prophet Yirmiyahu (chap. 16,19-21):
יט) ה’ עזי ומעזי ומנוסי ביום צרה אליך גוים יבאו מאפסי ארץ ויאמרו אך שקר נחלו אבותינו הבל ואין בם מועיל:
כ) היעשה לו אדם אלהים והמה לא אלהים:
כא) לכן הנני מודיעם בפעם הזאת אודיעם את ידי ואת גבורתי וידעו כי שמי ה’: ס
HaShem, my strength and my fortress,
my refuge in time of distress,
to you the nations will come
from the ends of the earth and say,
“Our ancestors possessed nothing but false gods,
worthless idols that did them no good.
Copyright © 5777/2017 Nachman Kahana