Egypt Syndrome – Parashat Bo

January 5, 2019 at 2:00 AM , , ,

“….And the blood will be for you for a sign upon the houses where you will be, and I will see the blood and spare you, and there will be no destructive plague in you when I smite the land of Egypt….” – Shemot 12:13

וְהָיָה הַדָּם לָכֶם לְאֹת עַל הַבָּתִּים אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם שָׁם וְרָאִיתִי אֶת הַדָּם וּפָסַחְתִּי עֲלֵכֶם וְלֹא יִהְיֶה בָכֶם נֶגֶף לְמַשְׁחִית בְּהַכֹּתִי בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם – שמות יב, יג

After guaranteeing that G-d will skip over and spare the Jewish homes from Makas Bechoros, the Plague of the Firstborn, the Torah adds “and there will be no destructive plague in you.” Rashi explains that these additional words address the following query: “What if one of Bnei Yisrael was in an Egyptian’s house? I would think that he would be smitten like him. Therefore, the verse states: ‘and there will be no destructive plague in you.'”

The Jew who lingered in an Egyptian home on the night of the Exodus was in a shocking spiritual state, one more akin to that of his Egyptian oppressors than to that of his fellow Jews. The Bnei Yisrael suffered miserably at the hands of the Egyptians for many years. Then, everyone witnessed the miraculous plagues with which G-d punished the Egyptians. Finally, the Jews offered the Pesach sacrifice to commemorate their imminent redemption from Egypt, and were commanded “no man shall leave the entrance of his house until morning” (Shemos 12:22). At this point, a Jew who still chose to spend the night in the home of an Egyptian, one could assume “would be smitten like him,” in Rashi’s words.

Egypt Syndrome

Yet, out of His love for the Jewish people, G-d Himself descended, as it were, into the homes of the Egyptians in order to single out the Jew who might be among them. “I will go out into the midst of Egypt” (Shemos 11:4), says G-d, to save from Makas Bechoros a Jew who was so spiritually hollow that even on this fateful night he still clung to his Egyptian colleagues.

From here we see the lengths we must go in order to save another Jew spiritually – to draw him nearer to the worship of G-d.  Emulating G-d’s ways, we must see to reach even the Jew who is so assimilated that engaging him can require sacrificing (within the guidelines of halacha) our own spiritual standards. We must descend even to that Jew for whom a holy environment is utterly foreign, he is still “in an Egyptian home,” to rescue him and draw his heart to his Father in Heaven.

—Likkutei Sichos vol. 36 pp. 50-51






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