Parshas Bo 2008

This week we read Parshas Bo. In the parsha, we read of the last three plagues that came upon the Egyptians. When Hashem tells Moses of the seventh plague, the plague of hail that He was going to bring upon Egypt, He says that He will bring this “in order that you will tell your sons and your grandsons that I played with Egypt, and the miracles that I placed among them, and you will know that I am Hashem.” (Exodus 10:2). The wording of this verse is rather strange. If we are telling these miracles to our children, isn’t it in order that they should know of Hashem? Why does the Torah talk about you - the one who is talking, the teacher, knowing who is Hashem?

We are taught, “Much I have learnt from my teachers; more than that from my friends; more than that from my students”. When a person has to explain a concept, and has to answer questions regarding it, there is a great deal of clarification. Points that may not have been considered are brought up. Ideas that may have been just taken for granted are examined. The topic becomes alive and real.

In the beginning of the famous work Mesillas Yeshorim, (Path of the Just), Rav Luzatto comments of the unfortunate fact that when it comes to concepts relating to our relationship with G-d, very often ideas are taken for granted. He notes how the people who are very intellectually stimulated will find satisfaction in examining intricacies of wisdom in all areas of knowledge, whether they be scientific, mathematical, or areas of Jewish law and knowledge. However, very few people will take time to think over and delve into understanding our relationship with G-d. What is love of G-d? How does one attain it? What does it mean to fear G-d? How does that affect our behavior? Is awareness of the presence of G-d something that should be on our mind 24/7?

When we have to express this and teach our children about G-d, we grow in our relationship with him.

This is what the Torah means – that you will discuss this with your children and you will know that I am Hashem.