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Bo
By Rabbi Yisroel Ciner

This week we read the parsha of Bo. "Bo el Paroah {Go to Paroah}. [10:1]" Our parsha contains the last three plagues inflicted onto Mitzrayim {Egypt}, finally forcing Paroah to succumb and release Bnei Yisroel {the Children of Israel} from bondage.

"And it was at the end of four hundred and thirty years (counting from the time when Hashem made the covenant with Avrohom and told him that his descendants would be enslaved in a foreign land), in the midst of that day, all of Hashem's hosts left from Mitzrayim. [12:41]"

"And Hashem spoke to Moshe saying: Sanctify for Me every first born…amongst the people and animals of Bnei Yisroel, they are Mine. (I acquired them when I smote the Egyptian first-born-Rashi.) [13:1-2]"

"And it will be when Hashem will bring you to the land of Canaan, as He swore to you and to your Forefathers, and He will give it to you. Designate to Hashem whatever opened the womb. [13:11-12]"

Rashi explains that we can't view the Land of Israel as an inheritance from our ancestors but rather, as if it is given to us on each day.

Rav Yerucham Leivovitz zt"l writes that we find the same concept by the giving of the Torah. "The words of Torah must be like new to you, as if you receive it each day. [Rashi 19:1]"

He explains that both by the Torah and by Eretz Yisroel {the Land of Israel}, each day we receive it anew.

Had Moshe not ascended the spiritual heights necessary to allow him to physically ascend Har Sinai {Mount Sinai} and to bring the Torah down to us, we'd never have been able to access it. However, Moshe didn't give us the Torah. Rather, he enabled and enables us to personally receive the Torah on a daily basis if and when we are ready to make ourselves worthy of receiving it. We must, so to speak, willingly stand ourselves at the foot of Har Sinai and then we too can receive the Torah.

The same applies to Eretz Yisroel. Our Forefathers merited that Eretz Yisroel be made available to their descendants. Not given to them but brought within their grasp. Even when "Hashem will bring you to the land that He swore to your Forefathers," you must realize that it is not an inheritance from your Forefathers. "And He will give it to you." We must make ourselves worthy of receiving and then maintaining the Land.

The way to do this is explained in the very first Rashi on Chumash.

"Breishis barah Elokim {In the beginning, Elokim created}. [Breishis 1:1]"

Rashi writes: Rav Yitzchak explained that the Torah could have/should have started from "hachodesh ha'zeh lachem {this month will be to you as the first of the months} [Shmos 12:2]," the first mitzvah {commandment} given to Bnei Yisroel. If so, why did Hashem begin the Torah with creation? It was in order to give us a response should the nations claim that we, Yisroel, are thieves for having conquered Eretz Yisroel. We can answer: "All of the land belongs to Hashem. He created it and gave it to whom He pleased. When Hashem willed it, He gave it to them and when He willed it, He took it from them and gave it to us."

With that having been said, I think we've solved the negotiation difficulties between Israel and Syria. THIS JUST IN FROM OUR FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT. Israel has sent a surprise negotiator to attempt a breakthrough with the Syrians. Yisroel Faourk al-Cinaaar explained to his Syrian counterpart that the reason the Torah starts with creation is to teach that Hashem created all of the land, including the Golan Heights. As such, it all belongs to Him and He gives it to whom he pleases. It therefore should remain in Israel's hands. The Syrians understood immediately, apologized profusely for the mistaken antagonism of the past fifty years and pledged to read parsha-insights weekly to avoid any future misunderstandings.

As Rav Sholom Shwadron zt"l asks: 1) How will this answer persuade the nations? 2) Wouldn't the account of the seven days of creation have sufficed? Why was there a need for the entire book of Breishis and the first half of Shmos containing the stories of the Forefathers, Mitzrayim, Moshe, etc.? 3) Why does Rav Yitzchak say "He gave it to them and took it from them"? If we are addressing the nations we should say to them "He gave it to you and took it from you"!

Rav Shalom explains that initially we'd try to give this answer to the nations but they won't stick around to hear what we have to say. Ultimately, we will have to speak to ourselves and strengthen ourselves…

By learning about Adom and Chava {Adam and Eve}, Kayin and Hevel (Kain and Abel}, the ten generations from Adom to Noach, the ten generations from Noach to Avrohom, the lives of Avrohom, Yitzchak and Yaakov, the twelve tribes, the slavery of Mitzrayim and our miraculous release from bondage-through all of that Hashem taught us the proper actions and the power of those actions.

The Books of Breishis and Shmos teach us the values and priorities which lifted up the Avos and their children and showed us the personal and communal destruction wrought by those who chose not to follow the ways of Hashem. Only by guiding and fashioning our lives after the Avos will we be worthy continuants of the Avos and will we be worthy of maintaining control of the land that was given to them.

Good Shabbos,

Yisroel Ciner

This week's 'parsha-insights' is dedicated in mazel tov to my close talmid and friend, Mr. Zachary Prensky on the occasion of his engagement to Miss Eileen Katz. May they merit to build a 'trusting' house in Israel and to fill it with much meaning and happiness.


Copyright © 1998 by Rabbi Yisroel Ciner and Project Genesis, Inc.
The author teaches at Neveh Tzion in Telzstone (near Yerushalayim).

 






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