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Shabbat BO Readings and Commentary

Exodus 10:1–13:16; Jeremiah 46:13-26

Abstract of the Commentary by Michael Schneider
israel today, Jerusalem:

This week’s Torah portion BO („Come“) speaks about the last three plagues over Egypt, where God showed the mighty Pharaoh His great power. The final plague follows with the triumphant Exodus of the people of Israel from Egypt, from slavery into freedom.

Jewish scholars explain that the first nine plagues are divided into three-year cycles. Before every three-year cycle, the LORD commanded Moses early in the morning to stand before Pharaoh in the presence of many (7:15; 8:16; 9:13) and forewarned him of what was coming (7:17; 8:17). The third time of every cycle Moses stood before Pharaoh, it came without warning (8:12).

In the beginning, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, he refused let the people go, but then stepwise he did allow the people sacrifice to the God of Israel. Then he said it was okay for the men, women and children to leave Egypt, but without the livestock and finally God had the victory, calling the children out with wealth and blessings.

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    Video-Commentary by Rabbi Chaim Richman, Temple Institute, Jerusalem:

    A new world order. Sounds scary, but thats exactly what G-d established
    when he commanded Israel, saying, „This month shall be to you the head of
    the months; to you it shall be the first of the months of the year. (Ex. 12:2)

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Even Pharaoh’s advisors told him to let God’s people go, but Pharaoh’s pride and selfish ambitions kept him from listening to counsel. May we also be careful and recognize our pride early on, willing to humble ourselves and surrender all. The punishment for Pharaoh and ‘all who trusted him’ came later through Nebuchadnezzar when he ruled Babylon (Jeremiah 46).

Remember it took only three days to leave Egypt, but 40 years for Egypt and her cults and idols to leave the minds and hearts of Israel.
In order to know the exact timing of the Exodus we must begin with the Babylonian exile, which we know happened in 586 BOT. If we add another 390 ‘day-years’ mentioned in Ezekiel 4:4-13 we come to the year King Solomon divided the two kingdoms into Israel and Judea in 976 BOT. Take another 36 (40 less 4) years of Solomon’s reign and the 480 years between his throne and the time of the Exodus described in 1 Kings 6:1 and the date comes to 1492 BOT!

Commandments were given, still used today, which commemorates the Exodus from Egypt. A blameless lamb should be kept on the 10th of Nissan and on the 14th slaughtered and eaten at the last supper on the 15th of Nissan at the last night.

According to the faith of Christianity the Exodus also foreshadows the sacrificial atonement of the Lamb of God who, although blameless, was slaughtered on the cross. For the Children of God, celebrating the evening before brought salvation, but to those who opposed Him, it brought death. A lesson to us!

Concerning the final plague, the Lord had the final say. While Pharaoh was guilty of murdering all the Hebrew newborns, God went and killed Pharaoh’s first-born child.

Shabbat Shalom

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Shabbat Va’eira – And I appeared – Shabbat Readings and Commentary

Exodus 6:2 – 9:35; Numeri 28:9-15; Haftara: Isaiah 66:1-24

Abstract of the commentary by Michael Schneider,
israel today, Jerusalem:

This week’s Torah portion shows us how the children of Israel first began experiencing freedom from slavery as the LORD began making Himself known to them. God had a plan to deliver his people, first, by bringing them out of Egypt and redeeming them and then taking them as His people (v.6–7). This is also the way He saves people from the bondage of sin.

Aaron, Moses’ brother, became his mouth, speaking in his place even though God commanded Moses to speak to Pharaoh. But all this shows is that it’s a waste of time to try and argue with God because His plans will always be accomplished.

God wanted to show His power in the battle between God and man as he did with Pharaoh and showed all of Egypt (the world) His ‘great judgments’ (7:4). He works the same today, showing the nations His work of restoring and returning His people back to their Land – even in much greater dimensions, according to the prophet Jeremiah in chapter 23:7–8.

There’s a story of a minister who was preaching in northern Alaska about the ‘Return of the Jews.’ More than 5,000, including Eskimos trekked through the arctic ice to hear of God’s mighty work in our time.

The world watched and was amazed. The birth of the State of Israel became the greatest miracle of the century!

In Ezekiel, the prophets says, “When I gather the people of Israel from the nations where they have been scattered, I will show myself holy among them in the sight of the nations… They will live there in safety and will build houses and plant vineyards; they will live in safety when I inflict punishment on all their neighbors who maligned them. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God” (28:25-26).

We first read about seven of the 10 plagues before deliverance from Egypt, in an ascending order of distress. They began by striking nature first, then the animals, followed by man.

It is remarkable that during the plagues, the children of Israel were set apart. They didn’t suffer as plagues rained down on Egypt (8:22). In spite of the blood, they were able to drink clean water and received light in the land of Goshen, despite the darkness. God, also, takes care of His children in today’s dark world.

However, before God plagued Egypt, He always hardened Pharaoh’s heart. As Moses demanded, “Let my people go, so that they will serve Me!” These words threatened Pharaoh as felt he’d lose his power.

This is why the first part of the command is easier with an emphasis on ‘Let my people go!’ The second part, ‘So that they will serve Me!’ is harder to follow and is why those of us who are stubborn will fail.

God did His part in delivering His people, now it’s our turn to have a change of heart.

Shabbat Shalom

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