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Bo 5775 ~ בא
G-d tells Moshe that He is hardening Pharaoh’s heart so that, through miraculous plagues, the world will know for all time that He is the one true G-d. Pharaoh is warned about the plague of locusts and is told how severe it will be. Pharaoh agrees to release only the men, but Moshe insists that everyone must go. During the plague, Pharaoh calls for Moshe and Aaron to remove the locusts, and he admits he has sinned. G-d ends the plague but hardens Pharaoh’s heart, and again Pharaoh fails to free the Jews. The country, except for the Jewish People, is then engulfed in a palpable darkness.
Pharaoh calls for Moshe and tells him to take all the Jews out of Egypt, but to leave their flocks behind. Moshe tells him that not only will they take their own flocks, but Pharaoh must add his own too. Moshe tells Pharaoh that G-d is going to bring one more plague, the death of the firstborn, and then the Jews will leave Egypt. G-d again hardens Pharaoh’s heart, and Pharaoh warns Moshe that if he sees him again, Moshe will be put to death. G-d tells Moshe that the month of Nissan will be the chief month.
The Jewish people are commanded to take a sheep on the 10th of the month and guard it until the 14th. The sheep is then to be slaughtered as a Pesach offering, its blood put on their door-posts, and its roasted meat eaten. The blood on the door-post will be a sign that their homes will be passed-over when G-d strikes the firstborn of Egypt. The Jewish people are told to memorialize this day as the Exodus from Egypt by never eating chametz on Pesach. Moshe relays G-d’s commands, and the Jewish People fulfill them flawlessly. G-d sends the final plague, killing the first born, and Pharaoh sends the Jews out of Egypt. G-d tells Moshe and Aaron the laws of the Pesach sacrifice, pidyon haben (redemption of the first born son) and tefillin.
MAFTIR Exodus 13:14 – 16 ~ page 262
HAFTORAH Jeremiah 46:13 – 28 ~ pages 263 – 264
Jeremiah graphically depicts the defeat of Egypt by the Babylonian invaders. Panic, he declares, seizes the Egyptian armies, and their hired mercenaries prepare to flee to their own countries. The invading army, with its overwhelming military strength and numbers, mows down the Egyptian resistance. Yet, the day will come when Egypt will be restored and repopulated. Though the destruction of other nations will be complete, Israel in exile need not fear that they will suffer a similar fate, for G-d is with them. Having been justly punished for their sins, they will not be utterly destroyed and will “again be quite and at ease”.