Sunday, January 20, 2013

Parashat Bo- Miracles

“Vayomer A-donai el Moshe: Bo el Paro ki Ani hikhba’d’ti et libo v’et lev avodav l’ma’an shiti ototai eileh b’kirbo.” 
“And A-donai said to Moshe: Come to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants in order to increase My signs in their midst.”
The Hertz Humash translates God’s words as “Go in unto Pharaoh; for I have hardened the heart of his servants, that I might show My signs in the midst of them.” It seems to be a natural switch. In English we would naturally say, “Go to Pharaoh…” The same is true for Hebrew. So then why didn’t God say, “Lech el Paro…” “Go to Pharaoh…” Dr. Hertz attempts to illustrate the purpose of the verb bo while avoiding the linguistic awkwardness.
“Come to Pharaoh.” The verb choice implies a familiarity with Pharaoh. Moshe has the ability not just to go to Pharaoh like any other begging for an audience. He can come into the throne room, into Pharaoh’s presence as he chooses. The verb should remind us that Moshe was raised in the palace. Moshe is not going to speak to a monarch to whom he has no connection. He is coming home.
Each time God commands Moshe to speak with Pharaoh He uses the command, “Bo, Come.” Even amidst the plagues, Moshe’s ability to come and go, to enter the palace and to leave, as he wished is maintained. Not just anyone could have led the Israelites from Egypt as God’s shaliach. Moshe was chosen not only for his caring as a shepherd, as Midrash teaches. Moshe is chosen for his place in Egyptian society as Pharaoh’s own brother, a brother who has experienced God’s presence and God’s power, and one who can bring it freely into Pharaoh’s domain.
Miracles and success do not only come through God. God often works through us, working with who we are and whether we take advantage of the opportunities presented to us in life.

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