Community Torah Corner, January 7, 2022

Rabbi Isaac Bernstein
Congregation Etz Chaim
Livingston, NJ
Parashat Bo

When Hashem instructs Moshe to go to Paroh in the beginning of this week’s Parsha, the Torah uses a very strange word. Instead of saying “lech el Paroh,” which would translate as “Go to Paroh,” Hashem says “Bo el Paroh”, which literally means “Come to Paroh.” 

Why would Hashem use this language? Was Hashem communicating this message from the Royal Palace, telling Moshe “Come here!?” No! Hashem is telling Moshe, right now you are here, and you need to GO there!

What Hashem was instructing Moshe to do was close to a death sentence. After seven plagues that nearly destroyed the Egyptian people, Moshe probably wants to run from Paroh and not be seen! These plagues have destroyed the Egyptian’s animals, their economy, their way of life. If Moshe walks into the Royal Palace right now, he’ll surely be killed! 

Knowing how Moshe must be feeling, Hashem tells Moshe, “Come to Paroh,” not “Go to Paroh.” Hashem is reminding Moshe, “You are not alone in this mission. COME with me! I’m right here with you! There is no reason to be afraid.” 

David HaMelech shares with us a similar message in Tehillim 91:15 - "He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him, and bring him to honor.” 

When we are in trouble, and sometimes afraid to face those troubles, we must remember that Hashem is telling us, “Bo, come with me. I’m right by your side.” With that knowledge, we will be able to overcome and hurdle anything that may stand in our way.

Shabbat Shalom!