Shabbat Shalom – 1/27/2012


 Candlelighting for
Friday, January 27, 2012 • 5:34 pm

• Our Portion for the Week •

BO – EXODUS 10:1 – 13:16
In this portion we continue the account of the ten plagues with the last three. The plagues of locusts and darkness are described, and then the account is interrupted in order to record a detailed set of instructions that God gives to Moses and Aaron to prepare the Israelites for freedom. They are first directed to establish a calendar starting with the month of liberation, Nisan. The calendar is meant to provide social and religious cohesion as well as to symbolize the free man’s ability, indeed responsibility, to mark time. Then follow directions for offering the paschal sacrifice – to be eaten in haste – and for smearing blood on the doorposts and lintels so Israelite houses will be spared the final plague. God then passes over the land and kills all the first-born sons of the Egyptians, whereupon Pharaoh finally sends the Israelites out and they begin their journey toward Sinai. The Exodus is the key event in all of Jewish history, and the instructions given here are by way of assuring that we remember God’s role as redeemer to eternity.

• Our Question for the Week •

And the blood on the houses where you are staying shall be a sign for you: when I see the blood I will pass over you, so that no plague will destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
(Exodus 12:13)
Why were the Israelites commanded to mark their houses with blood? Even in the unlikely event that they lived in mixed neighborhoods with their Egyptian masters, surely God knew who lived in each house, just as He knew who was firstborn. For whom was this sign intended? Was it meant as an act of defiance? A sign of faith? A test of commitment? Today we place mezuzot on our doorposts. What does this mean to you? Have you ever felt uneasy about making this public declaration of your Jewishness? How do you explain the mezuzah to strangers who ask about it?