Weekly Parashah

Shabbat Bo

Marc Chagall

January 12, 2019: Parashah Bo
Torah: (Shemot) Exodus 10:1 — 13:16
Halftorah: Jeremiah 46:13-28

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— Parashat Bo — “Come”

Torah: (Shemot) Exodus 10:1 — 13:16
Haftarah: Jeremiah 46:13-28


"You search the Scriptures because you think in them you have eternal life. It is these that bear witness of Me [Yeshua]"  John 5:39

"A Circumcised Heart"

This Parashah begins with the last three plagues against the Egyptians, and it continues with the establishment of two signposts in the Jewish culture, (1) the sanctification of the New Moon — Rosh Chodesh, and (2) the establishment of the Passover — Pesach.

It begins by revealing the reason why God wanted the Jewish people out of Egypt, for we read in Shemot 10:3 God's message to Pharaoh: “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me.” The reason God wanted the Jewish people out of Egypt was that they may serve Him. But there is an interesting dichotomy here. The Egyptians were free men, but they knew not about God. The Jews were slaves, yet God wanted the humble ones to serve Him. Will the same thing happen to the Jews once they would be free; will they become proud and forget about God after their acquired freedom? Through the plagues God wanted to make sure that the Jews will never forget their enslavement. Pharaoh’s sin was his refusal to humble himself before God, thus the object of the plagues is to teach meekness and also to educate men in the knowledge of God. God knows our hearts — that we are stubborn and hard to change — but He is giving us opportunity after opportunity to correct ourselves. Until we do, He disciplines us just as a loving father does with his children.

The deliverance from Egypt was to be not only from physical but also from spiritual slavery. God wanted them to be physically free in order to attain spiritual freedom. Unfortunately, in today's day-and-age the more physical freedom we attain the more spiritually slaves we become. Only a humble heart can experience a true spiritual freedom. God is always ready to help in our spiritual quest and He does it through tangible yet gentle reminders.

— THE FIRST SIGNPOST - NEW MOON / REQONING TIME. At this moment in time in the Parashah the Jews are still slaves in Egypt. They could not be free until they had to think as free men, so God wants to change their way of thinking. The first thing He tells them to do is to observe the time. “This month shall be to you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you” (Shemot 12:2). By repeating the words “to you,” God emphasizes that the Jews need to wake-up out of their spiritual slumber. As slaves their time belonged to their master, but from now on they would be the master of their time. The time will belong to them and their only Master would be God. The month of Aviv would become the first month of their freedom. They would start reckoning their time from the hour of freedom, thus Exodus was to mark the beginning of a new era; Israel now has a new calendar beginning with their redemption from both physical and spiritual slavery. The beginning of the year is a great way to "renew" our commitment to the Lord, but in a smaller scale the beginning of every month, which is marked by the New Moon - Rosh Chodesh, could also be a signpost for our “renewal” in our walk with the Lord, to be celebrated, as the Bible says, with the blowing of the Shofar (Psalms 81:3).

— THE SECOND SIGNPOST - PASSOVER. Passover was the inaugural festival because it marked the emergence of the Jewish nation. This nationhood was not based on revolution, triumph in battle, conquest of a land, or any of the other manifestations of national pride. Rather, the people had fallen to the lowest depths of degradation, spiritual and physical. In the spiritual realm, they had virtually forgotten even the covenant between God and Abraham’s seed, the covenant of circumcision. In the physical realm, they were downtrodden slaves, without the power to protect even their babies from being drowned by their masters. God’s plan was that the Jewish people in Egypt would become totally powerless, so that when they were reconstituted as a nation, they would have nothing but what God had given them. To stress the centrality of the Exodus in Israel’s faith, the Ten Commandments identify God as the One Who took Israel out of Egypt, not as the One Who created heaven and earth.

But Passover is much more than a festival. Passover is the corner stone of our spiritual freedom. Without experiencing Passover we have no freedom, and no salvation. The Israelites were asked to perform a ritual that will symbolize for all times the meaning of salvation by sacrificing an innocent lamb, without blemish, and expressing their faith to God and to the whole world by smearing its blood on the outside of their houses. For when God will come in judgment to smite the unbelievers would see the blood and pass over. “For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment; I AM (YHVH / Yehovah). And the blood shall be to you for a sign upon the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you” (Shemot 12:12). God Himself executed this judgment.

The absolute holiness of God prevents us from coming in His presence, our sins, no matter how small, are incompatible with God's holiness, but God in His grace will accept a blood sacrifice to atone for our sins, to cover our sins. This is God’s requirement for redemption; a perfect sacrifice must be made through the shedding of blood and the lamb of Passover was an exemplification of that requirement. But the Passover lamb was not the absolute perfect sacrifice because the Israelites had to make this sacrifice year after year. Yeshua came to fulfill this requirement in order that every human being who believes in Him be passed over and enter into a fellowship with God. The ancient Passover was a typology of the redemption that God will fulfill in the fullness of time by sending His Son to die on a Roman execution stake as the absolute perfect sacrifice once and for all.

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