Shabbat Parashat Bo

Tidbits of Torah
Shabbat Parashat Bo
January 19, 2013 – 8 Shevat 5773

Dear Friends,

Intransigence is such a powerful force in our world….

When I read the story of Pharoah, as it is told in our weekly Torah portion of Bo, I am struck not only by Pharoah’s intransigence in the face of Moses’ message to Pharoah, but also by the thought of the many times in life when we fall into a patterns of intransigence rather than letting go of things that would be best let go.

How many times have we held onto “ideals” or “principles” that have only served to divide us, to increase dissension, and to defeat the possibility of coming to a better understanding of those around us, and ultimately to stand in the way of peace…

Pharoah paid the price of intransigence.

Yet, Moses was no less adamant in his stance – repeatedly conveying God’s message: “Let my people go!”

How do we know when to hold fast to our principles, and when to let go for the sake of peace?

Our parsha, Bo, invites us to have this conversation.

Our Torah encourages us to “separate the wheat from the chaff” – to identify the ideals and the values that require our undivided loyalty and to clarify for ourselves the parameters of fair compromise and of practicality.

One thing is certain: The value of freedom, which stands firmly at the center of Torah’s message, is tied to the understanding that we are only free if we accept the right of others to enjoy freedom as well.  We are only free if we remember that all human beings are created in the image of God.

Intransigence for a good cause…that is what Torah wants us to aim for.

On this weekend, when we recall Martin Luther King, Jr. and his life’s work, I wish you a Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror