וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, בֹּא אֶל-פַּרְעֹה; וְדִבַּרְתָּ אֵלָיו, כֹּה-אָמַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי הָעִבְרִים, שַׁלַּח אֶת-עַמִּי, וְיַעַבְדֻנִי.
Adonai said to Moshe, "Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, 'Here is what Adonai says: "Let my people go, so that they can worship me. (Exo 8:1 CJB)
FLIGHT OR ASSIGNMENT?
During the second World war, Rabbi Eliyahu Meir Bloch had to close his yeshiva in Europe. Upon arrival in America, he commented on his fate using a passage from 1 Samuel 20. He said, “When Jonathan arranged to signal David that he was in danger because King Saul wished to kill him he said, ‘If I tell the boy the arrows are beyond you, go, for HaShem has sent you!’ Why didn’t he say, ‘Flee’, rather than ‘go’, which would have been more accurate?”
This may sound like a trivial question, but when we speak of the Word that we are told is God-breathed and is valuable for teaching the truth, convicting of sin, correcting faults and training in right living; (2 Tim 3:16), it is important to pay attention to details.
David had to actually flee for his life, but Jonathan interpreted that situation as HaShem sending his friend on a particular mission. In this choice of words, we see that Jonathan had perfect peace concerning the course of events. This is very important.
When we realize that HaShem has His divine hands in all the aspects of our lives, that He is the guiding Presence supervising every step of our lives, we realise that what we may otherwise call a ‘flight,’ even from seeming impending danger, is actually the signal that we are dispatched to a different mission or assignment.
This realization procures peace that all is indeed in His very able hands.
THE DEVIL DID IT TO ME!
I very often hear the statement, “The devil is doing this and that to me.” Isn’t it a bit silly and rather inconsistent in principle that we attribute the bad things (or the things we don’t like and don’t agree with) to the Evil one, and the good things (or the things we like and agree with) to HaShem? Wouldn’t it mean that sometimes HaShem is not able to prevent HaSatan from doing us evil, or that the two are in a constant battle with either one winning at any time? Wouldn’t it mean that life is random? This sounds fearfully depressing! What we rather see in the first chapter of the Book of Job, HaShem allows HaSatan to do things to us in order to “send” us on a particular assignment (Job 1:12).
THERE IS MORE TO THIS STORY.
In the parashah this week we read of HaShem's great miracles. We read how He did wonderful things in order to free the Children of Israel from their Egyptian captives. This is the story of our God who always fulfills His promises. This makes for a great story. But there is more to this story than the miracle of the deliverance; it is also the story of the captivity of a whole people.
Just as there cannot be resurrection without death, there cannot be great deliverance without captivity. The first has to be for the other to happen. The Children of Israel did not flee to Egypt because of the famine in Cana’an. Just as Joseph said, they were sent there by HaShem to accomplish their great mission. “God sent me ahead of you to ensure that you will have descendants on earth and to save your lives in a great deliverance.” (Gen 45:7 CJB)
And what was the mission of the Children of Israel? What was the reason HaShem sent them to Egypt? “I will make Pharaoh so hardhearted that he will pursue them; thus I will win glory for myself at the expense of Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will realize at last that I am Adonai.". (Exo 14:4 CJB)
Since the time of the Exodus, this story has been read by billions. We still study it today. HaShem brought the Israelites to Egypt. HaShem hardened Pharaoh’s heart to keep the Israelites prisoner. HaShem freed them. These were all HaShem's mighty works from the beginning.
“WHAT HAS BEEN IS WHAT WILL BE.” (Ecc 1:9)
Even now we are nearing the end of what has been called the Roman Exile. Even now we are seeing the preparations of a greater exodus. The prophets could only dream of these days and longed to see them (Mat 13:17). And this time, it is not soleley for the Egyptian to at last realize that He is Adonai for HaShem said through the prophet, “I will make my holy name known among my people Isra'el; I will not allow my holy name to be profaned any longer. Then the Goyim will know that I am Adonai, the Holy One in Isra'el. Yes, this is coming, and it will be done,' says Adonai Elohim; 'this is the day about which I have spoken.” (Eze 39:7-8 CJB) All the nations will know then that He is Adoanai, the God of Israel, the God of heaven and earth! The present-day Jewish Diaspora is to bring about the nations to glorifying the God of Israel.
AND WHAT DO WE LEARN FROM THIS?
May we as we live our lives, as we go through its ups and downs, never think during times of difficutly that HaShem has abandoned us. He never abandons us but rather sends us on missions. (Deut 31:6)
Whatever catastrophes, accidents, deaths, sicknesses, financial problems, they are but signals that He sends us on a mission that He may be glorified either in our hearts or in the hearts of others around us. Haven’t we been sent to glorify him?
He ordains exile and orders the deliverance.
He ordains sickness and orders healing.
He ordains penury and orders providence.
He ordains death and orders resurrecting.
"COME" OR "GO" :בא ?
The parashah is called “BO”, from its first sentence, בֹּא אֶל-פַּרְעֹה. This sentence is usually translated as, “Go to Pharaoh…” but really it’s meaning is, “Come to Pharaoh.” When someone tells us to come somewhere, that means that he is already waiting for us there. This teaches us that HaShem was also in Egypt as he said, "I have seen how my people are being oppressed in Egypt and heard their cry for release from their slavemasters, because I know their pain.” (Exo 3:7 CJB)
This teaches us that whateve ‘exile” we are in, HaShem sees us, and is even with us. He is the One who takes us in, and He is the One who brings us out!