Torah Portion: בוא Bo Exodus 10:1-13:16
HafTorah: Jeremiah 46:13-28
This Torah portion is called “Bo” in Hebrew or “Come” in English. What does the name of a Torah portion usually tell us? It is usually the main thought or idea or maybe the name of one of the main characters. So here, in one of the most important portions in the Torah, the name is “come” rather than freedom, or Exodus, which would seem more fitting. Why? I would like to take a few minutes before we get to the Passover implementation to answer the question of why. Last year I think we touched on this to some degree so some of you may remember that discussion. Why did G-d use the word “come?” Moses had met with Pharaoh a few times already. But in each of those cases G-d says “Go to Pharaoh” but here He says “Come to Pharaoh.” I think we see Moses about to enter into Pharaoh’s inner sanctum rather than meeting him in a somewhat neutral place such as by the river. Here Moses is coming into the “belly of the beast” so to speak and G-d is saying, “Come with Me to Pharaoh.” Remember in Ezekiel 29:3 how Pharaoh is described as a great serpent who crouches in the river and says, “My river is my own, I have made it or ‘made myself.’” What was Pharaoh’s biggest sin? Was it the enslavement of the Jewish people or killing of infants? No, everything he did sprung from his unbridled ego. He lived his life saying, “I am god. What is good is what helps me. What is bad hinders me.” So Moses was about to come face to face with the heart of evil. G-d assures him He will be with him. Is our ego bad? It is only bad when it is separated from G-d. Our ego should be a reflection of G-d and as such should lead us to do those things which brings glory and honor to G-d, not to ourselves. If not, then we become god in or own eyes and the world revolves around us. Right and wrong becomes perverted.
So that was what Moses was about to confront and is also what we sometimes have to face. We are not G-d but we serve one who is the maker of the Universe and Who is always with us. How often do our decisions in life reflect only what is good for us?
Now to the other points of this section. In Exodus 12:2 we read where the month of Aviv (Nissan) is to be the beginning of the spiritual year for Israel. I think I asked you to reflect on your own spiritual beginning.
Exodus 12:3 says to take a lamb on the 10th of the month. Four days the lamb is to be kept before slaughter. The tenth day of the month is probably the same day Yeshua entered Jerusalem. (John 12:1) We read where large crowds were there to meet Him. They were there for the holidays and to pick their lamb and to be purified before Passover. So here, in effect, by their actions, they were picking Yeshua, proclaiming Him Messiah. They didn’t know the outcome of this action but G-d did.
It is written in Exodus 12:5 it is to be an unblemished lamb. For animals this meant no physical defects. The same word when used for a person means one who has integrity and is blameless. Yeshua fits this completely. He was without defect so Peter could write in I Peter 1:19 and Paul in I Cor 5:7 as the Passover Lamb.
Exodus 12:6 says the lamb is to be kept for 4 days. Why? It was to see if any blemish appeared. The Hebrew word is to guard or watch and observe. One of my questions was how was Yeshua observed to see if he had a blemish? He went to the Temple to teach and there the Pharisees and Sadducees asked him many questions. They were looking for any moral or theological blemish that would disqualify Him. Of course none were found. Matthew 21-22.
In Luke 22:15 we read about Yeshua celebrating the Passover with His disciples. The things we read here are still a part of the Seder today. Exodus 12:8 says they are to eat bitter herbs to remind them of their hardship in Egypt. In Matt. 26:21-23 Judas dips his bread into the bitter herbs before he goes out to betray Yeshua. In Luke 22:42 we read of His bitterness of heart.
Exodus 12:11 says eat of it with your loins girded, sandals on and staff in your hand. Yeshua sends His disciples out the same way in Matthew 10:10.
Exodus 12:12 talks of the tenth plague, killing the first-born. So in the first Passover the first born of Egypt were slain and later Israel had to redeem their first born to remind them of how G-d had spared them in Egypt. In Hebrews 1:6 and Romans 8:29 Yeshua is described as the first born whose death redeemed us from that fate spiritually. Please continue to read this account of the first Passover and see how you can relate it to your own life spiritually, such as taking out the leaven in Exodus 12:15.