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Parshat Bo – Come with Your Whole Essence?

January 22-28, 2023 Exodus 10:1-13:16

A Part of the Torah Portion of this week:

“The last three of the Ten Plagues are visited on Egypt: a swarm of locusts devours all the crops and greenery; a thick, palpable darkness envelops the land; and all the firstborn of Egypt are killed at the stroke of midnight of the 15th of the month of Nissan.”

For Noahides

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהֹוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה בֹּ֖א אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֑ה כִּֽי־אֲנִ֞י הִכְבַּ֤דְתִּי אֶת־לִבּוֹ֙ וְאֶת־לֵ֣ב עֲבָדָ֔יו לְמַ֗עַן שִׁתִ֛י אֹתֹתַ֥י אֵ֖לֶּה בְּקִרְבּֽוֹ׃

“On Tevet 15, 2448, G-d told Moses and Aaron to announce the eighth plague—locusts. On the last day of the warning period, G-d said to Moses, “Come to Pharaoh to warn him again to release the people. For even though I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his courtiers, and it would therefore seem that it is pointless to warn him,it is so that I may demonstrate these miraculous signs of Mine in his midst”

Most translations translate: “Go to Pharaoh”, but the Hebrew word בֹּ֖א come to Pharoah is a more correct translation of the verb לבוא = to come. Consider Parshah Lech Lecha, where Abraham was instructed to go, lech. That same word would be expected here if you want to translate with “go to Pharaoh”.

Moshe had been to Pharoah a few times, and there had been many plagues, but none had yet plagued Pharoah himself. The plague with the lice would be the first to bother him personally.

Moses knew that fighting evil, the essence of evil, had begun. When G-d showed Moses the noxious spiritual fount of Pharaoh’s evel power, Moses became anxious about having to approach it. God therefore reassured him that He would accompany him and help him overcome Pharaoh.

So You may read the sentence as follows: HaShem says to Moshe, Come with Me to Pharaoh, I will help you.

HaShem Himself would help Moses break the dark powers of Pharoah. So that the people would become free from all the forces of Egypt. From the materialistic world, from idols, from a life without Torah, etc.

That is what Noahides can learn from this Parshah.

“Going” implies that one’s home base is where one already is; one simply visits the place he is “going to”. “Coming,” on the other hand, implies that one moves one’s home base, that he goes there with his whole being.

We should try to completely free ourselves from our “normal physical” world when we communicate with HaShem in Torah study or prayer.

We should not just “go” to Torah study or prayer, but “come” into Torah study or prayer. We don’t want to visit HaShem for a moment, but we want to come fully to Him with our words and our ideas, with our whole essence, with our whole being.

A good preparation for prayer is:

– Find a fixed time in the day – preferably in the morning. Regularity ensures you don’t forget in the hustle and bustle of the day.

– Find a fixed place because:

1) This allows one to concentrate on his prayers rather without the distractions posed by unfamiliar surroundings.

2) Prayer is compared to the sacrifices offered in the Temple. Just as sacrifices must be brought in a fixed place, so too the prayers must be recited in a fixed place.

3) A place is further sanctified by each prayer recited therein. This aids the power, and the potential for acceptance, of further prayers

Read a piece of chassidus.

Meditating beforehand on the greatness of HaShem, your love for Hashem make the depth of the words of your prayer richer.

Give some charity before prayer.

On an elementary level, giving charity before prayer every day is like giving a gift to the king before making a request. On a deeper level, it is with immense kindness that G‑d, who is infinite, provides for our finite (and sometimes petty) needs. We elicit G‑d’s kindness through giving charity and doing act of kindness

A good preparation for Torah-Study – reading:

First pray.

After that, one could say the following: This is the Torah! I is the tree of life for those who grasp it, and those who uphold it are praiseworthy. Its ways are the ways of pleasantness and all its paths are for peace.

When we prepare properly then HaShem says: come, we will go together. Together we will make sure that what needs improvement will improve and what is good will become even better.

By Angelique Sijbolts

Sources: Chabad: Bo in a Nutshell, Kehot Chumash: Bo, Chabad Article: Preparing for Prayer, Chabad Article: Why (and When to) Give Charity Before Prayer?

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