In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Prov.3;6 ב”ה
“Let’s make the next few minutes last forever….”
Bo- He Will Enter, Then We Will Go 5778
May it be that the threshold of the gateways to our hearts be marked. Marked with the brilliance and significance of the truth. May we connect to the season at hand before it is upon us. May we know that each minute we spend in meditation and intention regarding our King is an investment toward the only thing that truly matters- relationship & closeness with Him.
Ask any child of observant families what Pesach (Passover) means: “Passover. Because God passed over the Hebrew homes in Egypt.” This week I pray we will internalize the wonder that Hashem didn’t pass over, Hashem did not pass by the dwellings marked by the blood…but instead He entered therein in order to protect those inside. Keep in mind as well, the people had to actualize a twofold understanding given by Hashem at this time. The commandment had to actually, physically be performed. The blood of the lamb really needed to by applied to the doorposts yet it was understood that it wasn’t the blood itself (as a charm) that saved the homes from destruction. It was the trust in the blood and the One Who gave the sign… that saved.
Yeshayahu 31; 1 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, and trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the LORD! 2 Yet He also is wise and will bring disaster and does not retract His words, but will arise against the house of evildoers and against the help of the workers of iniquity. 3 Now the Egyptians are men and not God, and their horses are flesh and not spirit; So the LORD will stretch out His hand, and he who helps will stumble and he who is helped will fall, and all of them will come to an end together.4 For thus says the LORD to me, “As the lion or the young lion growls over his prey, against which a band of shepherds is called out, and he will not be terrified at their voice nor disturbed at their noise, so will the LORD of hosts come down to wage war on Mount Zion and on its hill.” 5 Like flying birds so the LORD of hosts will protect Jerusalem. He will protect and deliver; He will pass over פֶּתַח and rescue.
#6452 (v) pasach פָּסַח– to pass over, to spare,to halt, to be made lame.
(only in the following Torah contexts- Shem 12; 13,23,17)
Sh’mot 12;23 “For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts הַמְּזוּזֹת (ha’mezuzot), the LORD will pass over פָּסַח the door פֶּתַח and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you. 24“And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever.
#4201 (fem n) M’zuzah מְזוּזָה – doorpost.
(only in the following Torah contexts Shem.12; 7,22,23 and below)
- Sh’mot 21;5 “But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,’6 then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently.
- Devarim 6;“These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8 “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9 “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. [ Dev.11;20]
B’reshit 4:7 “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door הַפֶּתַח; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
# 6607 (masc n) petach פֶּתַח – opening, entrance, gate, a door (gates of hope, gates of the mouth).
[ Shoresh for Petach- # 6605 (v) Patach פָּתַח- to open the mouth, to speak or utter words, to let loose, to lead in , to begin, to be opened, to engrave. – to give a sense for the meaning…
- B’reshit 29:31 Now the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, and He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.
- B’reshit 30:22 Then God remembered Rachel, and God gave heed to her and opened her womb.]
Redemption is underway, the Exodus is at hand…
The ‘Mission’ until now has been that Moshe and Aaron are messengers to Pharaoh. Until this point in the text the emphasis has been on Egypt. Last lesson we spoke about the Theological lessons Hashem was displaying through the plagues. (God’s existence, God’s involvement in human affairs and God’s exclusive and supreme power over all of nature and creation.) Until now, Hashem in His great mercy, was endeavoring to bring back to Pharaoh and his people, that which they had lost…their sense of humanity, dignity, the tselem Elohim.
B’reshit 5;2 “In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created.”
The focus has been on returning to Egypt the understanding that Life can be centered on the Creator’s presence. Thus far the focus has been on the signs and wonders through which God was revealing Himself.
Now, the focus is on Israel. Pesach (Passover) is the birth of the nation of Israel. Judaism is not a religion. It is a people (עַם am), and a nation. His nation was to be founded solely upon Him and upon the free willed moral fulfillment of His will- as He would soon ‘officially’ express through the matan (gifting) of the Torah at har Sinai (Mt. Sinai).
The first historical commandment on a national level
is their unique relationship with time.
Between the darkness
and the death we read:
Sh’mot 12;2 “This month shall be the רֹאשׁ beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.
This shall be the head of the months….
# 2318 (v) chadash חָדַשׁ – (to polish a sword); renew, repair or restore.
- Tehillim 51; Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.11 Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You.
#2320 (masc n) chodesh חֹדֶשׁ – the ‘new’ moon, month.
- Sh’mot 13:4 “On this day in the month of Abib,(Aviv, Nissan) you are about to go forth.
Why is this the first commandment to the Hebrews ?
The New Moon, or New Month is better translated as a renewal. It is not like the “western” concept of “Brand Spankin New Right Out of the Package”. Thus a Renewal was the first promise from Hashem to His people, while they were between darkness and death. Rosh Chodesh is the opposite of the reality of what Egypt was. The whole goal is that we not wind up like the Egyptians. So that we learn to become masters of time, remaining sensitive to every moment. Therefore nothing becomes stale or old, this way we don’t become numb to what is going on around us.
The responsibility to sanctify time is the antidote to the staleness of Egypt,
to know that
EVERYTHING CAN BEGIN AGAIN.
Rosh Chodesh is the reminder
we can always have a fresh start.
#7218 (masc n) Rosh רֹאשׁ – head, highest, supreme, first, foremost, beginning.
A NEW HEAD. The beginning of Newness =
Sh’mot 12; 3″Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household.…
This commandment, bound with the slaughtering of idolatry before the whole world- fearlessly slaughtering the Pesach lamb, that which was so sacred and worshipped by the Egyptians.
Sanctifying the new moon and the Pesach lamb signaled the beginning of national life.
This new moon and the cycles of Hashem’s appointed times, the Sabbath (the proof that we are Free people) are reminders that we will always be able to renew our relationship with God. There is in reality the possibility of constant rebirth. This keeps us from moral and spiritual insensitivity (which characterizes all idolatrous society.)
[At the time of Channukah,the primary decree of the Greek’s was outlawing the observance of the New Moon. This mindset is the opposite of a New Mind.]
After the flood- God promises a new future for Mankind.
After Egypt, and the flood of plagues…
he says this renewal is the perpetual beginning of beginnings.
G‑d showed Moses the new moon at its moment of rebirth, and said to him:
“When the moon is reborn, mark the beginning of a new month.” (Mechilta)
There was a large courtyard in Jerusalem called Beth Yaazek, where all the witnesses (who had seen the appearance of the new moon) used to assemble, and the beit din (rabbinical court) used to examine them….The pair of witnesses who arrived first were cross examined first. The senior of them was brought in and they said to him: “Tell us how you saw the moon—in front of the sun or behind the sun? To the north of it or the south? How big was it, and in which direction was it inclined? How broad was it?” . . . Rabban Gamaliel used to have diagrams of the phases of the moon on a tablet on the wall of his upper chamber, and he used to show them to the unlearned and ask, “Did it look like this or this?” . . . After that they would bring in the second witness and question him. If their accounts tallied, their evidence was accepted. The other pairs were questioned briefly—not because they were required at all, but so that they should not be disappointed and discouraged from coming (the next time).
The head of the beit din would then proclaim: “Sanctified!” and all the people would repeat after him, “Sanctified! Sanctified!”
(Talmud, Rosh Hashanah ch. 2)
Time is not linear but cyclical, the observance of a feast is not just the commemoration of something that happened a long time ago. We seek to learn about and guard these appointed times of the Lord in order to avail ourselves of the light coming into the world at this time of year.
We are presented with a chance to rectify
and to relive something that is constantly going on…
to grasp and appreciate something forged into the fabric of creation of that time,
and as we do we become a refraction and redefinition of that original light.
Sh’mot 10; 21Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even a darkness which may be felt.” 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days. 23 They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the sons of Israel had light in their dwellings.
- We could not expect to rise in our closeness to Hashem, until we have taken note and given an exerted effort into changing the misfortune of our fellow. Members of your family, those whom you have a specific inlet for testimony to (because of a relationship which is innate and also already being fostered). Friends and members of the community of believers (these we can grow and learn with but also guide and admonish in humility and genuine love first removing the “obstructions” from our own vision before criticizing the “other”). People, human beings…made in the image of Hashem just as we are (thus turning not aside from someone because they hold certain beliefs or hold to nothing at all- this is not to say to condone a rejection of God or to tolerate evil BUT one closes the door to shining light…when communication is inaccessible.)
There is no greater darkness than one in which “a man did not see his fellow”—in which a person becomes oblivious to the needs of his fellow man. When that happens, a person becomes stymied in his personal development as well—“nor did anyone get up from his place.” – Chiddushei HaRim
- Sh’mot 10;7 Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God. Do you not realize that Egypt is destroyed?” 8 So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh, and he said to them, “Go, serve the LORD your God! Who are the ones that are going?” 9 Moses said, “We shall go with our young and our old; with our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and our herds we shall go, for we must hold a feast to the LORD.” 10 Then he said to them, “Thus may the LORD be with you, if ever I let you and your little ones go! Take heed, for evil is in your mind. 11 “Not so! Go now, the men among you, and serve the LORD, for that is what you desire.” So they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.
- Sh’mot 10;14The locusts came up over all the land of Egypt and settled in all the territory of Egypt; they were very numerous. There had never been so many locusts, nor would there be so many again. 15For they covered the surface of the whole land, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every plant of the land and all the fruit of the trees that the hail had left. Thus nothing green was left on tree or plant of the field through all the land of Egypt. 16 Then Pharaoh hurriedly called for Moses and Aaron, and he said, “I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you. 17“Now therefore, please forgive my sin only this once, and make supplication to the LORD your God, that He would only remove this death from me.” 18 He went out from Pharaoh and made supplication to the LORD. 19 So the LORD shifted the wind to a very strong west wind which took up the locusts and drove them into the Red Sea; not one locust was left in all the territory of Egypt. 20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go.
The desperation and frustration of Phara’oh is becoming clear. First the religious leaders are telling Phara’oh (‘It is the finger of God!’), next it is his advisors and finally the entire people is urging the Hebrews to leave. The intensity of Pharaoh’s responses to Moshe and the increasing “flexibility” he has with the demand to be liberated is seen. Pharaoh casts Moshe and Aaron from his presence and then calls them back again, repeatedly.
- Sh’mot 10;21Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even a darkness which may be felt.” 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days. 23 They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the sons of Israel had light in their dwellings. 24 Then Pharaoh called to Moses, and said, “Go, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be detained. Even your little ones may go with you.” 25 But Moses said, “You must also let us have sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice them to the LORD our God. 26 “Therefore, our livestock too shall go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind, for we shall take some of them to serve the LORD our God. And until we arrive there, we ourselves do not know with what we shall serve the LORD.” 27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go. 28Then Pharaoh said to him, “Get away from me! Beware, do not see my face again, for in the day you see my face you shall die!” 29 Moses said, “You are right; I shall never see your face again!”
- Sh’mot 12; 29 Now it came about at midnight that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle. 30 Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was no home where there was not someone dead. 31Then he called for Moses and Aaron at night and said, “Rise up, get out from among my people, both you and the sons of Israel; and go, worship the LORD, as you have said. 32 “Take both your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and go, and bless me also.”
- Sh’mot 12; 21Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and take for yourselves lambs according to your families, and slay the Passover lamb. 22 “You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning.
Moshe began as a messenger to Pharaoh…he went to Pharaoh. In the end it is Pharaoh who is looking for Moshe. The image is at “about midnight” while the Hebrews are fully dressed and partaking of the Peach meal with anticipation. Pharaoh is outside, wandering the streets of Egypt in his jammies…looking for Moshe. Finding him, he says “Go!” To which Moshe responds, “Not until morning…” This is the first act of freedom, expressing to Phara’oh- “You’re not the boss anymore…” God told us not to leave until the morning, we’re not leaving until morning.
There is a Process of redemption. Redemption began at night…
“ get ready to go- shoes, walking stick, (anticipation) but don’t leave yet…”
For example, when do your guests begin to leave? When they put their coats on, as goodbye’s are being said at the door…(it’s a process).
Sh’mot 12; 7 ’Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8‘They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9‘Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails. 10‘And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire. 11‘Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the LORD’S Passover.
Slaves have no sense of testimony, for what is there to share with those who come after them. What glorification can be attributed to a life of bondage?
Slaves have no sense of time, for their time is not their own, they have no choice as to how to spend time, no option to choose to cease.
This is why God gives us the telling of this account and makes it time sensitive… and through the remembrance of the Pesach we become more and more acquainted with the powerful gift of free choice in the Kingdom of Hashem as we relive His appointments and testify in their regard.
- Yeshayahu 30:29 You will have songs as in the night when you keep the festival, and gladness of heart as when one marches to the sound of the flute, to go to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel.
(from שָׁמַר Shamar- to guard, to keep safe, preserve, attend to, to keep watch.)
#8107 (masc n) Shimuriym שִׁמֻּרִים– observe, preserve.
- Sh’mot 12;42 It is a night to be שִׁמֻּרִים observed for the LORD for having brought them out from the land of Egypt; this night is for the LORD, to be שִׁמֻּרִים observed by all the sons of Israel throughout their generations. (found only here in Tanakh)
[The concepts of this Appointed time is something that was observed in some manner before the event of the Exodus from Egypt (Avraham and Lot were preparing, eating and serving Matzot at this time of year. See Gen. 18;6 hastily prepared cakes, 19;1-3 washing and eating Matzot.), this night of “watching” and its many rites and remembrances is preserved through the Seder meal on Passover night to this day (upcoming on Shabbat evening, Friday March 30, 2018). This night of watching also speaks, as much of scripture does, to that which will be realized once more. Thus, we could do well to be preserving that which was, is and will be significant in the times ahead of us…and in so doing we will fulfill this concept of being watchful and anticipation of the ultimate redemption which will come “at the dawn”.
Bill Cloud brings out the parallels seen in the account of Yeshua’s last Seder on Pesach night:
Matthew 26; 36 Then Yeshua *came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and *said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. 38 Then He *said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” 39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” 40 And He *came to the disciples and *found them sleeping, and *said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? 41 Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”]
How does God liberate us? How can this people really absorb meaning in this ‘meal’ with all that was going on around them? You could most likely hear the destruction and the responses of the Egyptians…that great cry which rose in the night. How did the Hebrews internalize what they were partaking of? Hashem opened up for them an emotional truth at this moment, even though they were physically still in Egypt…one day they would be coming to the Holy Temple for this pilgrimage feast and one day they would not only be free, but a part of Am Israel…bringing the light of the Torah to the whole world from that place. They understood this and so it was as if they were sitting by the beis hamikdash… it was is if they were on wings of eagles… under the protection of Hashem, Who had passed over the threshold and the blood, making covenant with them not to destroy them…
He was indeed in their midst. Part of being a slave is
not believing in the future, being in a past dominated- present,
where yesterday’s control everything about you.
The people of Hashem knew “ tomorrow is going to be different”. The plagues provided God’s people the means to understand God created the universe and is in control of the universe, the slavery at the point of parasha Bo has already ended…the tables have turned. It would be now that Phara’oh is coming to you, telling you’re free- when darkness eclipses the sun god. For the Hebrews to wait until morning at God’s command is the final act of defiance. It is an act of freedom, “We’re not sneaking out like robbers, we go as freemen with our pride, with reverence for God’s instructions.”
May you be blessed to realize that we have indeed been liberated from the bondage of hopelessness. We have an eternal dawn to look forward to, and while we do may we all be strengthened and anticipating His return to claim us and take us upon His wings. While we await in the darkness which surrounds us may it be ever clearer as the minutes pass by that Hashem has come INSIDE WITH US, to protect us from the looming destruction. He is in Control and in Charge and we belong to Him, free slaves…READY to believe in the freedom ‘tomorrow holds’ our mission inside of it,
Sources: Much of this entry was learned from Rabbi Chaim Richman, Rabbi Ari Kahn, and Bill cloud. See Homepage on this blog and My Resources page for a complete list of sources.
This and all our learning is done in memory of Mirjam, who truly leaves behind a lasting legacy and for the complete and total healing the refuah shelemah of Lilly- we’re all hoping for the very best and praying for more than we could hope for!