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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Skorka

Bo - The perennial message of the plagues

The last three plagues that God sent on the Egyptians are described in this parashah (Locusts, Darkness and Death of the Firstborn). God reveals to Moses the purpose of these multiple plagues: to tell your children and your children’s children the deeds I did so they would know that I am God (10: 2).

Egypt was a regime in which the king, his court and members of the clergy were the only free beings in a society that had been enslaved since the time of Joseph (Genesis 47: 13-26). After the death of Joseph and all the members of his generation, when a new Pharaoh took power over Egypt, the Children of Israel were also enslaved (Exodus 1: 6-8).

Pharaoh's power was based on the belief of his superiority over others and his closeness to the deities that ruled the Cosmos. The reason for sending multiple plagues on the Egyptians was to show that the control of nature was not in the hands of Pharaoh and his deities (Exodus 12: 12), but in God.

This history was repeated in the midst of many peoples over the course of history and its end was always the same: the fall of the oppressive regimes. However, the sick craving for power and wealth has also recurred right up to the present.

This story must be remembered by every Jew every day of his life (Deuteronomy 16: 3) in order to have it be perennially present and to transmit it from generation to generation. In it is found the essence of how to continue dreaming of and working toward a better world.

Shabbat Shalom!


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