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From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/bo
Bo (בֹּא — Hebrew for “Go [to Pharaoh]”) – Exodus 10:1-13:16
Then the Eternal One said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh. For I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his courtiers, in order that I may display these My signs among them.” – Exodus 10:1
- God sends the plagues of locusts and darkness upon Egypt and forewarns Moses about the final plague, the death of every Egyptian firstborn. Pharaoh still does not let the Israelites leave Egypt. (10:1-11:10)
- God commands Moses and Aaron regarding the Passover festival. (12:1-27)
- God enacts the final plague, striking down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt except those of the House of Israel. Pharaoh now allows the Israelites to leave. (12:29-42)
- Speaking to Moses and Aaron, God repeats the commandments about Passover. (12:43-13:16)
From Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bo_(parsha)
Connection to the Parashah
Both the parashah and the haftarah describe God’s judgment against Egypt. The parashah reports that God told Moses to go (bo) to Pharaoh; the haftarah reports God’s word that Nebuchadnezzar would come (la-vo) to Pharaoh. Both the parashah and the haftarah report a plague of locusts — literal in the parashah, figurative in the haftarah. Both the parashah and the haftarah report God’s punishment of Egypt’s gods. And both the parashah and the haftarah report God’s ultimate deliverance of the Israelites from their captivity.
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/bo
By: Jonathan K. Crane
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH and REFLECTION
For Torah Study, instead of the portion from the Book of Exodus that is read on this Shabbat, we will read the Haftarah (a selection from the prophets) from Jeremiah 46:13-28. You can read this week’s Torah Portion at https://www.sefaria.org/Exodus.10.1-13.16 and the Haftarah we will be studying at https://www.sefaria.org/Jeremiah.46.13-28
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
בא Bo – Exodus 10:1-13:16
Post-biblical Interpretations – by Anna Urowitz-Freudenstein, pp. 372-373
“the first-born of the slave girl who is behind the millstones” (11:5). According to the midrash collection P’sikta D’Rav Kahana 7.9, Egyptian slave women were proud to work beside well-born Israelite women like Serah bat Asher, Jacob’s granddaughter (Genesis 46:17). Yet, despite their lowly status and their solidarity with Israelite slaves, the Torah makes clear that these women were still Egyptians–and their first-born children were not spared. According to midrashic tradition, Serah’s life spanned the entire period of Israel’s slavery in Egypt (see Numbers 26:46).
“This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months” (12:2). Based on this verse, traditional Judaism ordains the celebration of Rosh Chodesh, the new month. Since the Jewish calendar is partially based on the lunar cycle, this observance corresponds with each new moon, and it has special connotations for women. In ancient times, Rosh Chodesh did not have the elevated status of a full holiday, but it was celebrated in a festive, sacred manner. According to JT Taanit 1:6, women customarily did not work on the day of the new moon. Later rabbinic sources explain that the Rosh Chodesh holiday was given to women as a reward, since–according to midrashim on Exodus 32–they refused to participate in the sin of the Golden Calf (Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer 45). The custom of special time for women on Rosh Chodesh, which persisted through the Middle Ages, has been renewed today in Rosh Chodesh groups for women and girls.
In the middle of the night יהוה struck down all the [male] first-born in the land of Egypt (12:29). Even though the Egyptians had already been tortured with nine plagues, they continued to force the Israelites to work as slaves. One of the well-known, back-breaking tasks of the slaves was making bricks (1:14; 5:7). This involved the treading of clay to mix it with water and straw in order to prepare it for placing into molds to form bricks. A midrash in Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer 48 recounts the story of a specific woman, Rachel the granddaughter of Shuthelah, who is not actually named in the Torah although her grandfather appears in a genealogical list (Numbers 26:36). At this late stage in the Egyptian bondage, Rachel was pregnant and was treading clay for bricks along with her husband. She spontaneously gave birth to her baby in the midst of her work, and the newborn mistakenly fell into the clay and was mixed into it. The new mother’s desperate cry was so great that it reached heaven. There, the angel Michael heard her, went down to earth, and took the clump of clay that had now been made into a brick with the infant inside it and brought it up to God’s Throne of Glory, where the brick served as God’s footstool. This outrage served as a reminder for God to proceed with the punishment of the Egyptians–and it was to that very same night that the present biblical verse refers.
That was for יהוה a night of vigil (12:42). A rabbinic opinion states that first-born Egyptian females as well as males were killed in the tenth plague. According to this view, Pharaoh’s daughter–who had rescued Moses and raised him as her son (2:5–10)–was a first-born and thus should have perished in this plague. P’sikta D’Rav Kahana 7.7 explains that Moses prayed for his adoptive mother, whose name was thought to be Bithiah. His prayer is said to have extolled Bithiah in the language of Proverbs 31, the biblical tribute to the “woman of valor.” According to a verse in this poetic passage, the woman of valor’s lamp does not go out at night (Proverbs 31:18). The midrash understands this statement as a metaphorical reference to the survival of Pharaoh’s daughter, whose soul was not extinguished on the fateful night of death. Evidence is adduced from the unusual spelling of the Hebrew word for “night” as written in Proverbs 31:18 (without the final letter heh), which matches the spelling of a form of the same word in Exodus 12:42. Insisting on the connection between these two biblical verses, the midrash teaches that Pharaoh’s first-born daughter was saved during the tenth plague due to Moses’ prayer on her behalf.
TU B’SHEVAT COMMUNITY SEDER – online February 5, 2023 6:30 PM
Tu B’Shevat, “New Year of the Trees,” begins the evening of February 5, 2023. Again this year, we will celebrate Tu B’Shevat online with a simplified Seder. Please see the separate email sent on January 23, 2023, with the instructions and meeting information. NOTE: a different meeting ID, passcode and link from the regular Friday evening Torah Study-Shazoom is required.
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur”:
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.516
THUS SAYS ADONAI, This is what I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of lawlessness; to let the oppressed go free, to break off every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home. When you see the naked, give clothing, and do not ignore your own kin.
O GUARDIAN of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have [served, suffered or] died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. Amen.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of abuse, brutality, conflicts, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds especially directed at individuals and specific communities including us, and war; for all those at home alone or lonely; for all those in need of physical, emotional, and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, conflict, disease, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds, and war.
This coming week, 6 Shevat through 12 Shevat, we lovingly remember:
Friend of Dr. Sam and Mary Caron
Survivor of Mengele’s twin experiments, relative of Ruben Gomez
Those victims of the Sho’ah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“ZICHRONAM LIV’RACHAH” – MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE FOR BLESSING.
TORAH STUDY AND SHAZOOM
We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this evening, Friday, January 27, 2023. For the next few months we will read and discuss the Haftarah, each selection from the prophets following the weekly Torah Portion.
Zoom regularly updates its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this evening with wine/grape juice for Kiddush and Challah for Motzi.
Topic: Torah Study – Haftarah Bo: Jeremiah 46:13-28
Time: Jan 27, 2023 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Jan 27, 2023 07:30 PM Arizona
To join Torah Study and/or Shazoom click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser]: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/72510500854?pwd=Z3VQZWF4U1BBZytNYmh3aHFTWkFDZz09
Meeting ID: 725 1050 0854
Hint: The last character of the password is the number zero.
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat/Gut Shabbos
PS – About the Book of Jeremiah:
From Jewish Encyclopedia
From Jewish Virtual Library
Timelines from Wikipedia