These Torah portions of the exodus of the Jewish nation are so exciting. I dont know whether thats because they include my fathers Bar Mitzvah portion (Bo) or because I am an oldest child and so many of the beautiful verses and ideas in Bo (this weeks portion) resonate with me so much.
Bo means come. After all the stop and go drama and tension of the plagues, the word bo transforms the famous image of the outstretched arm of G-d into an image I can fathom. I can almost imagine Moses protectively waving his hand to come, to follow, to join. With the word bo the Exodus becomes and feels almost like an invitation.
There are so many rich and personal verses in Bo, such as the verse relating the ninth plague, when darkness strikes. And the L-rd said to Moses, Stretch out thy hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched out his hand towards heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days; they saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.
Darkness. Fundamental to the human condition is a deep-seated, primal fear of darkness. Indeed, it is terrifying. Each morning, among the essential blessings of life, we bless G-d for restoring sight to the blind. If we are among those who can see, we are grateful for it, while intensively praying for and thinking of those most likely anguished by blindness, of living an existence that can often feel cut off, a life in isolation in a world of darkness.