Thursday, February 2, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Bo

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Shemos 10:6, the Torah recites Moshe's warning to Pharaoh that the upcoming plague of locusts would fill Egypt beyond what the Egyptian's fathers and grandfathers had ever seen from the day they were on the ground until today. 

The Sfas Emes explains that Hashem brought back to life the Egyptians' deceased relatives so that they could see the plague of locusts and the pain that it inflicted on the Egyptians. 

R' Frand then quoted the Zohar on Balak which is oft repeated - that when a person makes a simcha, the neshamos of his deceased relatives come to the simcha. The actual language of the Zohar states that Hashem uproots the relatives from Gan Eden and He comes with them to the simcha so that they can join in the celebration.

The Sfas Emes explains that there is a fundamental difference between the Jews and the other nations. When a Jew intends to do a mitzva, but is prevented from completing the task, Hashem gives him credit as if it is completed and joins the intent with the act. In contrast, when a member of the other nations intends to commit a transgression and is prevented from doing so, he receives punishment as if he had performed the act. 

The reason why the relatives of the Jews come and join in the simcha, is that the positive acts taken by the family members are a direct result of the intent of the ancestor which were implanted in the spiritual DNA of the ba'al simcha. Thus Hashem rewards them for their actions, by allowing them to partake in the wedding/bar/bat mitzva (mazal tov Tali). 

The same holds true by the other nations. The actions of the present day members are impacted by the actions and intentions of their fore bearers. Thus it is only right that they came and experienced the punishment received by the Egyptians.

R' Frand also said a second vort which he saw in R' Bukspan's sefer (presumably Classics & Beyond, Parsha Pearls). He observed that while the Pesach Seder is intended to mirror the Seder experienced by the Jews on the night they left Egypt, there is an important difference. Although the Jews were instructed in this week's parsha (Shemos 12:22) that they should not leave their homes until morning (due to the Malach HaMaves being allowed to kill the Egyptians in the street), we open our doors when we say Shefoch Chamscha. So why is this done?

R' Bukspan explains that the Jews were not specifically worthy of leaving Egypt and the reason that they left was not on their own merit. In fact, the angels and even the sea commented that both the Jews and the Egyptians were ovdei avodah zarah.

Since the Jews did not leave on their own merit, they were not supposed to watch the deaths of the Egyptian. R' Bukspan linked this to two other episodes wherein people were told not to watch - the destruction of Sodom and the Great Flood. Lot and his family were told not to look back, because they were unworthy of being saved. Similarly, Noach was told not to look outside, because he too was not worthy of being saved. The Jews of Egypt also were not redeemed due to their own merit and therefore were not to look or go outside on the night of Makas Bechoros.

However, on the night of the present day seder, when we reach the Shfoch Chamascha, we are no longer looking back in time. Instead, the seder is looking to the future, to a time when the Jews have zechusim. Thus we open the door.

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