Torah Portion: Bo (Come) Exodus 10:1-13:16
HafTorah: Jeremiah 46:13-28
New Testament: Luke 2:22-24; John 19:31-37; Acts 13:16-17; Revelations 8:6-9:12; 1-21
I would like us to cover a few things from this Torah section. The first being the issue of the new moon and the first month found in Exodus 12:2. This is the first commandment given to Israel as a people. Why do you think G-d chose this to be the first thing to relate to Israel and what can it teach us?
First, on a somewhat practical level, it gave the people a way to count time – G-d’s time. It told them when the appointed times with G-d would be each year. It separated them from the Egyptian calendar, which was based on Egyptian gods and worship. What or why should this matter to us? I think the major reason would be, it is given by G-d as a way to relate to Him day to day in the physical world. It reminds us that time is G-d given and not to be squandered. It reminds us that we are different from the world in how we see time. Now, I want to take a look at the Jewish calendar and give you a little information. The current calendar consist s of 12 months except in Leap Year when an additional month is added. It is a lunar calendar but one that since Babylon, uses Babylonian names rather than Hebrew names. I think this is a problem – much like the problem with our Gregorian calendar. The problem being, both use pagan words that often refer to pagan gods. An example would be the Hebrew month of Tammuz. This is the name of a Babylonian god. In the Gregorian calendar you have January named after the Roman god Janus. Janus had two faces, one looking forward and one backward. In the Hebrew Scriptures we find only four months with Hebrew names, the other months are referred to by numbers similar to the days of the week in Hebrew. Example: Sunday (Yom Rishon or day one).
1st month Aviv in Exodus 13:4
2nd month Ziv in I Kings 6:1 and I Kings 6:37
7th month Ethanim in I Kings 8:2
8th month Bul in I Kings 6:38
Now on to a deeper thought about the new moon and lunar months. What can we learn from the use of the moon here. The most obvious is that like the moon we are to reflect light. The moon reflects the light of the sun. We are to be a reflection of G-d. G-d is our source of all things. We are to reflect that to a dark world. The moon should also remind us that we are not G-d, but need him in order to be what we are called to be. Also, the moon waxes and wanes. Sometime we are up and sometime down in our life but G-d is constant like the sun. He does not change.
In Matthew 5:14-16 we read, “We are the light of the world.” How we are the light of the world is found in John 12:46. Through Him we overcame the darkness and are able to point others to Him. So, there is much we can learn from this example of the new moon. I would encourage you to pay attention to the Hebrew months and become familiar with G-d’s calendar.
This brings me to my other question. In Exodus 10:22-23 we read about the plague of darkness. This plague did not cause any physical harm to anyone or damage any property. So what was so bad about it? Total darkness deprives us of the ability to discern our surroundings. We are unaware of those things that might harm us. We stumble easily. It causes us to lose hope and give up. Here this darkness was also a reflection of the sorry state of the Egyptians. They were walking in complete darkness. As stated in these verses, they were not able to rise from their place. They couldn’t envision a higher purpose. Even worse, they could not see their brother. Their own selfishness kept them from sharing with others.
It is ours to brighten our lives and the worlds. G-d has given us all we need. Living in the light rather than the darkness is a tangible sign of our faith in and reflection of G-d through Yeshua.