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A Shabbat Nugget: Parashat Bo

In this week’s Torah portion we read about the exile from Egypt. The exodus was not just about a physical freedom from the harsh labor that the Jews were subject to but also a spiritual freedom from the depraved culture of the Egyptians.  In fact the Hebrew word for Egypt, “Mitzrayim” means boundaries and restrictions, since the essence of Egypt was a place that restricted and did not allow for the divine spark of the Jews to manifest itself.

Our Rabbis teach us that the Torah commands us to remember the Exodus from Egypt daily, since we have to constantly strive to continuously break through our own personal boundaries and limitations.

The final plague which caused Pharoh to let the Jews go was the death of all the first born of the Egyptians.  As the verse states “It was at midnight that Hashem smote every firstborn..Pharoh rose up at midnight..and there was a great outcry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was no corpse.  He called to Moses and Aaron at night and said, “Rise up and go our from among my people.”

Why did the Exodus begin at midnight? The Lubavitcher Rebbe teaches that there is a great lesson to be gleaned from this.  Sometimes when we are inhibited by our personal challenges and restrictions, we feel that we have to wait for a better time to attempt to overcome them, since we feel that our challenges at the present time are too strong to overcome.  Therefore, the Torah tells us that the beginning of the Exodus was at midnight, the darkest moment of the night, to teach us that however dark your situation is, if you resolve to rise above it, Hashem, will give you the strength to break through and leave your own personal Egypt.

About Rabbi Pesach Scheiner

Rabbi Pesach Scheiner is the Rabbi of Boulder County Center for Judaism. In addition, he teaches extensively throughout Boulder County and is the author of "Finding the Joy in Everyday Living," a book of short chapters explaining the ways to access happiness through appreciation, gratitude, and a sense of purpose.

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