Parasha Inspiration – Bo

Parshat Bo ends in chapter 13 with a series of commandments given to the children of Israel before Sinai. The children of Israel are commanded to keep the Festival of Matzah year-by-year. We are commanded not to eat anything with leavening for 7 days. We are commanded to tell our sons that we keep this Festival because of what the Lord did for me when he brought me out of the land of Egypt.

This last commandment is the commandment for the Passover Seder. The entire purpose of doing the Seder is for us to tell our children the story of the Exodus from Egypt. Therefore, be sure to include children at the main Seder and not isolate them at a children’s table. They are the focus in the entire point of the Seder itself.

Verse 13:9 contains yet another commandment adjacent to the commandment of the Seder:  “And it shall be to you as a sign upon your hand and as a remembrance between your eyes, in order that the law of the Lord shall be in your mouth, for with a mighty hand the Lord took you out of Egypt.”

In Torah, when verses are next to each other, there is always a reason. In this case, right next to the commandment of the Passover Seder, comes the commandment for Tefillin. Why are these 2 commandments adjacent to each other? Simply, we are to keep the story of our redemption from Egypt before us all the time. It is so important that an entire commandment is set aside for us to teach the story of the redemption from Egypt to our children. We are to wear, literally, the sign of the redemption from Egypt on our hands. We are to keep the remembrance of our redemption from Egypt on our forehead between our eyes.

Why is the redemption from Egypt so important to Israel that we should keep it before us and on us daily, and yearly make certain to teach it to our children? It is a remembrance of things past and things future. It is a reminder of the cyclical nature of time. Just as Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, bringing about God’s redemption, so Yeshua the Messiah will lead the children of Israel to our final redemption. The Seder, its purpose, is to teach our children about the redemption from Egypt in the final redemption of the Messiah. The Tefillin are to keep the redemption from Egypt and a reminder of the final redemption of Israel coming under Yeshua the Messiah before us, and in our hearts at all times.

So here we see that God has instructed us, given us Torah, before Sinai. And this instruction is to help us remember the redemption of the past, and the coming redemption of Yeshua the Messiah, even before Torah is given to us at Sinai.


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Rabbi Steven Bernstein

Steve was born on Lag B’Omer in Ann Arbor, MI but was raised in Gainesville, FL. The son of two University of Florida professors, he excelled in the sciences in school. In addition to his normal academic studies, he pursued his Jewish education studying with many Rabbis and professors of Judaic Studies from the University including visiting Rabbis such as Abraham Joshua Heschel and Shlomo Carlebach.