Bo = Come! Getting ready Pesach, Shavous, Yom tov!

Leaving Mitzrayim!

In the account of the Exodus from Egypt, there seems to be a strange digression. Just as we were about to leave Egypt, we were commanded various commandments – and the Torah dedicates almost two complete chapters to discussing them in great detail [1]. Could these commandments not simply wait until we had left Egypt? [2]


The narrative informs us that “The Children of Israel… did (the commandments) as Hashem commanded, they did.” [3] But why is it necessary to repeat that “they did” the commandments?



An elderly man living in Modiin became observant at the age of 70!

He once related his story to his new study partner. He had actually been influenced by his neighbours who had become religious.

And how did they become religious? The son of the family was going to Japan and the parents were afraid he would marry out and so they told him to find a ‘Chabad house’ (religious messengers located throughout the world in even the most unlikely places). The Chabad house was a three hour journey and so the boy initially was not planning on making the journey. Then, one day, it moved across the street to him!


A short while later the boy became observant and his family soon followed his ways. After that, their neighbour – at the age of seventy – also became observant!


The elderly man had remained single his entire life. He had grown up in a small town where there were very few Jews and despite having the opportunity, he adamantly refused to marry out!



What was so important about being commanded to keep a few commandments as we were about to become the nation of Israel? “They did” the commandments can also be read

“they made”. Specifically by observing those few commandments was the nation of Israel made.   

It is via observing the commandments that we become the Children of Israel.


Indeed we have been taught that there were a few commandments that the nation of Israel managed to observe whilst enslaved in Egypt [4]. But surely this teaching implies that they did not observe most of the commandments, and more accurately virtually all of them!

Perhaps this is true. But it makes no difference. They were redeemed for the ‘little’ that they did do. More accurately though: clearly observing those few commandments was no small matter. After all, in merit of their fulfilment, we were redeemed!

‘Small’ things here make a big difference upstairs.


Perhaps this principle helps us to understand a perplexing issue. The evil son at the Pesach seder [5] questions the purpose of performing these ‘small’ commandments [6]. As a result he is deemed ’evil’ and is punished. But what is so bad about what he did? He questioned the importance of performing the commandments. The commandments are the foundation of our existence. They make us into a people and they keep us as a nation through thick and thin [5]. To belittle them is to belittle ourselves. There is no greater evil than this.


Observing the commandments make us into the Children of Israel [6]. The numerical value of ‘the mitzvos (commandments)’ shares the same value as ‘Israel’. Observing the commandments is how we were redeemed from slavery and became a people. Continuing to observe them ensures that we will remain a people, and erit to the ultimate redemption, speedily in our days. Amen.



Have a commanding Shabbos,

Dan.<- Click here for more from Rabbi Leeman! In his great new books!

Additional sources:

Story: Heard from R. Shalom Roeberg (an old study partner of the man in the story)

[1] Shemos Ch. 12, 13

[2] For a different approach to resolving this issue, see Revealing the Secret, SHEMOS – Bo,  ‘Bon appetit’]

[3] Shemos 12:28, 50

[4] E.g. Medrash Rabba, Shemos 1, Vayikra 32, Bamidbar 20:22, Devarim 2

[5] Haggadah

[6] Shemos 13:14

Perhaps this idea also helps answer the question [Abarbanel] as to how we can learn from the same verse both the question of the evil son and also the wise son. It all boils down to how a person views the commandments. If they are ‘little’ then the verse reflects the question of the evil son, whilst if they are important then the question reflects that of the wise son. These two approaches are reflected by the first understanding and actual understanding of this Torah section respectively (or the question and answer above).   

[7] See Rashi, Bereishis 1:1

Oros HaTorah (112) The Short Long Way And The Long Short Way, Especially In A Filtered World  <-to download mp3 click here!

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For blog on  Getting ready Pesach, Shavous, Yom tov! <-click here!

Download Source Material Rav Kook’s Ma’amar “Al pnimius haTorah.” In our generation all teachings of the inner side of Torah require explanation so that they can spread and reach all parts of our people. Today’s mandate: becoming someone who “knows” Hashem and works on having a relationship with Him. We need to understand why we are doing all these things on a daily basis? The answer to the internet problem is NOT doing something to the internet [that is, of course, important, but only a “quick fix” for a symptom, rather than the deeper problem]. At the core of everything is the person’s yiras Shamayim (fear of Heaven). Creating a curriculum of emunah (faith) – from first grade and onwards. The same is true for dieting or boy/girl relationships – filters everywhere! Rules and filters will not change our children’s hearts and minds. Shalom bayis (peace in the home) matters will not be fixed by buying flowers for the wife on erev Shabbos. Our generation is taught that we can’t win, and thus we give up; but that is the guf (body) perspective; we must engage and educate our neshamos (souls) with pnimius (inner) haTorah to combat despair


Midnightrabbi Inspires

Shovavim <- click here and through the snow here <-

to listen to a brand new class on this time of year from midnightrabbi inspired! Shovavim is a season in the Jewish calendar, the weeks when the parshioth of Shmos until Mishpatim, the first six parshioth of the Book of Exodus, are read in the synagogue, when the Kabbalists teach that it is auspicious to repent of sins. Some have the customs of fasting and giving extra tzedakah during this time, and of reciting Selichos and other Kabbalistic prayers and tikkunim.

The word Shovavim (Shin, Vav, Bet, Bet, Yud, Mem) is an acrostic for the names of the parshioth read during this period: For more on this special time click here <-

  1. Shin – Shemot
  2. Vav – Va’eira
  3. Bet – Bo
  4. Bet – Beshalach
  5. Yud – Yitro
  6. Mem – Mishpatim

When it is a Jewish leap-year, two more weeks are added, the readings of:

  1. Terumah
  2. Tetzaveh.

Sadigora rebbe 007As this special time begins Bd’H The…

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2 thoughts on “Bo = Come! Getting ready Pesach, Shavous, Yom tov!

  1. […] Chassidic Masters and happy Tu-bshvat in song!  The Seven Species and Seven Attributes […]

  2. […] Shovavim! The special time we are in and the opportunity to live inspired! ( […]

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