Parsha Talk Bo 5784 2024

Parsha Talk with Rabbis Eliot Malomet, Barry Chesler and Jeremy Kalmanofsky. Parashat Bo [Exodus 10:1–13:16] is the third parashah in Sefer Sh’mot [Book of Exodus]. It relates the last 3 plagues, describes the original Passover celebrated in Egypt and prescribes what should happen in subsequent generations, and concludes with the first 16 verses of chapter 13, which comprise the third and fourth passages in the tefillin, the ritual objects worn during the daily worship service by those who consider themselves so obligated. Chapter 12 in particular, at 51 verses one of the longest in the Torah, is particularly rich, and is one of my favorites. We will meet it later as the maftir [additional reading] on Shabbat Ha-Hodesh, the fourth of the four special parashiyot preceding Passover and the Torah reading for the first day of Passover.
In our conversation we took up the enigmatic verse in which Pharaoh apparently asks Moshe and Aaron to bless him on their way out of Egypt [12:32] and considered whether or not Pharaoh shows any humanity. We considered the power of narrative [or, storytelling], and its connection to redemption. And we concluded with a few thoughts on the meaning of ritual. We hope you enjoy it!
Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the hostages, may they be returned to their homes safely, and the soldiers defending Israel, may they be removed from harm’s way. Shabbat Shalom.