Exodus 10:1 - 13:16
Rabbi Shaul D Judelman for myjewishlearning.com
Taking Notice in Our Time
Renewal is possible at every moment.
The original Jewish geography, according to our mystical tradition, has three components–Place, Time and Soul (Olam, Shana and Nefesh). These are the basic dimensions in which we exist and interact with our world.
Environmental thought often dwells in the realm of place, as clearly the physical world has inherent ecological import. Therefore, when we read the Torah for its environmental wisdom, we usually look for passages relating to land or material goods.
In the Torah portion Bo, however, our attention turns to time: “This month will be to you the head of the months (Exodus 12:2).” An exploration of this unique mitzvah can reveal profound insights into the Jewish nature of time, and unlock the secret of how the realm of time is also of deep environmental significance.
Exodus 6:2 - 9:35
Rabbi Avi Weinstein for myjewishlearning.com
Knowing the True Essence of the Divine
Moses was challenged with the task of trusting God despite adversity.
After Moses earns harsh rebuke from his people when he acts on God’s instruction, Moses complains to God, “Why did you send me to make this nation’s life more miserable?” (Exodus 5:22) God answers:
(1) God spoke to Moses saying: Now you will see what I shall do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand I will send them forth and with a strong hand I will banish them from his land.
(2) God spoke to Moses, he said to him: I am YHWH.
(3) I was seen by Abraham, by Isaac, and by Jacob as God Shaddai, but (by) my name YHWH I was not known to them.
(4) I also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their sojournings, where they had sojourned.
By Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Who Am I?
Moses’ second question to God at the burning bush was, Who are you? “So I will go to the Israelites and say, ‘Your fathers’ God sent me to you.’ They will immediately ask me what His name is. What shall I say to them?” (Ex. 3:13). God’s reply, Ehyeh asher ehyeh, wrongly translated in almost every Christian Bible as something like “I am that I am,” deserves an essay in its own right (I deal with it in my books Future Tense and The Great Partnership).
“His first question, though, was, Mi anochi, “Who am I?” (Ex. 3:11).
“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” said Moses to God. “And how can I possibly get the Israelites out of Egypt?” On the surface the meaning is clear. Moses is asking two things. The first: who am I, to be worthy of so great a mission? The second: how can I possibly succeed?
Genesis 47:28 - 50:26
Rabbi Yaakov Pollak for myjewishlearning.com
What Is Your Blessing?
Jacob blessed his sons, not only according to each of their characters, but also with a unique piece of himself.
How much importance do we attach to blessings that we receive from others? How seriously do we take them? Our Sages established that “everything depends upon the one who gives the blessing and the one who receives it.”
What if God Himself gives the blessing?
You Will Be A Blessing?
A deeper significance to the concept of blessings is found in the Almighty’s declaration to Abraham, “Veheyei berachah–You will be a blessing.” This gave Abraham the Divine authority to bless anyone else he wanted, according to Rashi. The Ramban (Nachmanides) explains that Abraham became the model through whom other people blessed each other.
Genesis 44:18 - 47:27
BY RABBI MOSHE BECKER for myjewishlearning.com
Lying Does Not Pay
We must remember to keep the long term ramifications of a lie in mind.
Mistakes happen, and as self respecting folks we don’t like when we ‘mess up.’ It is very tempting, and often convincing, to present and/or perceive the facts a bit differently. We can deny ever having said something compromising or running a stop sign, and maybe convince ourselves that we didn’t do anything wrong. The problem is that we can be a little too short-sighted sometimes.
Joseph is sold by his brothers because they decided they wanted to get rid of him. After selling Joseph, his brothers engage in an elaborate deception designed to give their father the impression that Joseph had been torn apart by wild animals. Much to their shock, Joseph pops up many years later as a ruler in Egypt. Now the brothers are faced with the very uncomfortable reality of being caught. Not only did they commit a crime against their brother, but they also lied to their father.