The combining of the letters bet and aleph form the name of our parsha, “Bo”. In gematria this equals the number three (aleph being one and bet being 2). The theme of three comes up 3 times: the last 3 plagues in Egypt that resulted in Bnei Yisrael’s exodus (the locusts, the darkness, and the dying of the first born). The three initial mitzvot that are paramount to all mitzvoth: Mitzvat kidush hachodesh- sanctifying the new moon, Pesach – accounting the relinquishment of Egypt on Bnei Yisrael, and Brit Milah- circumcision. They were also commanded to prepare themselves for 3 days in order to make the pasical sacrifice. These are all primary mitzvot , the fundamental foundations for kabalat hatorah. (the receiving of the torah)
The new moon of Nissan at the start of a new year signifies Am Yisrael who glean the light from the Source, not from their own power, but constantly replenishing and lighting up the dark night with G-d’s torah. In the bloom of this spring time their heydays begin. The keystone in faith begins to turn and unlock barriers that were placed as obstacles by Pharoh and Egypt. They were finally able to exit in order to enter the destined realm, the Land of Israel, a land of milk and honey.
What made it so difficult for Pharoh to let the people of Israel go?
Pharoh considered himself a Supreme Deity, but no man can be G-d. Our sages say that he went down to the Nile to take care of his basic human needs, not wanting anyone to know that he was indeed bound to confined human limitations. He was a clever man, knowing many languages, yet despite even his claims to clairvoyance, his farseeing extrasensory skills only added to his fall. He refused to accept Hashem. Sometimes a person imagines about himself all different things and forgets totally that G-d did all of this for him. If someone has a talent, he was blessed with a special gift. When someone becomes a rising star, true he strived to reach those heights- but it was with G-d’s help that he achieved it. Pharoh’s heart was not open to this idea. He really believed himself as the sun that shines from it’s own power. Then came the plagues. Pharoh’s mind may have said, “Hark! Something is amiss!”, but his heart was locked and bolted. His self love destroyed Egypt. This is the worst form of idolatry. This is why he despised the idea of going to worship.” Who is there to worship if not me? “.
Miracles happened, the unpredictable occurred above the realm of nature. This completely contradicted the natural process of things but this was done solely for Am Yisrael. What could Pharoh do now? When a person can internalize the power of G-d, he can be redeemed to the point where he could see himself as having left Egypt right now!
Shabbat Shalom Leah Goldsmith