Torah Portion: Bo (Come) Ex. (Sh’mot) 10:1-13:16
This week we read the culmination of the plagues and the instructions for the ritual of Passover. I have a few things to share with you today. All of which should give us a deeper understanding of G-d’s will and plan for our daily life.
I would like to begin by mentioning something we have talked about before but is also something we need to hear again, especially in our world today. In almost all English translations of the Hebrew scriptures, the word translated in the opening sentence of this Torah portion of Bo is go. It could be more easily translated as come. Today in Israel you hear this word used often by mothers or fathers when they call their children to come to them. Every time it is used to tell the child to come to them or to come to where they are waiting for them.
Looking at the word Bo, in our portion it would give us a mental picture of G-d saying to Moshe, “Come to Me.” G-d was telling him and us that G-d is with us. He has gone ahead of us and is preparing the way for us. No matter what we are facing G-d is already there to meet us and to give us the strength to endure whatever lies before us.
In this Torah portion we see the last three plagues, lice, darkness and death of the first born. I want to just mention one of these. In the plague of darkness G-d was making a strong statement to Pharaoh. In Egyptian religion of the time, Pharaoh was believed to be half god and half man. Ra was the most revered of the gods of Egypt. He was believed to represent the sun. So here in this last plague before the death of all the first born in Egypt G-d was saying to Pharaoh, your gods have no power, they are defenseless before Me.
In our lives we say we have no G-d but one G-d, yet do our lives reflect that or are there other things we serve and bow down to? Let us all consider who or what demands our devotion. Is it something that holds power over our lives or something that we cannot do without? I believe each of us must always be aware of anything that comes between us and our faith in Almighty G-d.
Now to my main topic in Exodus 12:14 we read, “And this day shall be for you, for a remembrance and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the L-rd for your generations, a statue forever.”
I want us to look at the word remembrance. In Hebrew this word is zikaron. This word can also be used for recollect, call to mind, to invoke or announce. The most important thing about this word is that it involves action. It is much more than just recollecting. It brings us to involvement, to action. We are formed by what we remember, stories we tell. As we read this portion we read Moshe telling the people to reenact the Passover each year. To reenact all the things that were done here in our verses to relive them. By doing this it would form who they were and would be as a nation and as a people, for all their generations. It was to be much more than just a telling of the events. It was to include the same elements that are mentioned here in our verses.
In verse 12:15 we read what happens if they do not follow the actions set out by this festival. In this verse it tells the people that if they eat leavened bread they will be cut off from Israel. What does that mean? I believe this means a person who eats leavened bread has by his actions broken his ties to the people and to what G-d had done for them. This is a serious place to be. It shows you have put yourself outside of the framework of the people of Israel. They are in the darkness of Pharaoh. They have lost their connection to G-d Almighty.
All this brings me to us as believers in Yeshua. What is our story? What do we remember? What does it require of us in our lives? I believe each of us have our own story of how we came to be the people who follow G-d’s way.
Think of it as this, you are a believer, however over time you grow indifferent. You quit doing those things that keep your spiritual life fed. No more church, no more discussions with your children or friends and over time you become colder and colder. Your story of faith ceases to be told. So whatever your story of faith might have been in the future does not happen. That is a form of being cut off. Moshe is telling the people here that if they discontinue telling the story of who they are, what G-d has done for them, if they quit doing those things that add to their story, they and future generations will drift away and lose their way. And as time moves on future generations will have no idea of who they were meant to be.