Parshat Bo–Is Darkness a Matter of Perspective? What Is Yours?

Did you ever have or anticipate a day that made you feel like not getting out of bed—or not even lifting off the covers? Have you ever felt paralyzed by circumstances beyond your control?

As we approach the climactic departure of B’nai Yisrael from Pharaoh’s bondage, Egypt is first plunged into a state of darkness. The Torah tells us that this was a special darkness. It was not merely the absence of light. The darkness was palpable. It could be felt. What was this darkness?

The modern commentators in the Eitz Chayim Chumash offer a beautiful insight. They ask if the darkness could have been a deep depression, an overwhelming sadness. Considering the afflictions of the other plagues and with Pharaoh’s hardened heart—no end to the suffering in sight, there truly was cause for depression. The Torah tells us that the darkness was so intense that the people could not even get up or move around. They realized that their comforts and freedoms depended on the enslavement and suffering of others. The sense of shame and of helplessness and hopelessness in the face of God’s wrath probably gave good reason for the average Egyptian to not feel like getting out of bed.

This Shabbat morning, we hope that you will and get out of bed and find your way to our Torah Study.

On Shabbat, we learn with Rabbi Aaron Bergman on the theme of “How to See in the Dark.” He says, “Egypt went dark for everyone, both the Egyptians and the slaves. The Egyptian were helpless, but the slaves could see. How was this possible?

Come Shabbat morning and be enlightened.

Shabbat Shalom,

Paul

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