Divrei Torah

PARSHAS BO 5779

In this week’s Parsha we come across an idea of foolish governmental policy against the Jews that is detrimental to its own interests. By the beginning of today’s Parsha, the Egyptians had already suffered through seven plagues.

Moshe announced the 8th plague - locusts. Pharaoh’s advisors told him “how long will this be a stumbling block for us? Send the people out!” Pharaoh did not listen to his advisors and Egypt was hit with the plague of locusts. By this time Moshe was 8 for 8. One would think that Pharaoh would get it - that whatever Moshe says in the name of G-d will happen. But, Pharaoh refused to listen to Moshe, so the Egyptians were smitten with the plagues of Darkness and Slaying of the 1st born. It was almost as if Pharaoh were saying, “So what if we go down, just as long as the Jews suffer along with us.”

It is true that the reason Pharaoh did not listen to Moshe is that G-d hardened Pharaoh’s heart for the last 5 plagues. However, Pharaoh had his chances during the 1st five plagues. Since he refused to listen to G-d, speaking through Moshe, G-d made sure that Pharaoh would be the cause of the destruction of his own country.

King Solomon said, “There is nothing new under the sun. What already was will be again.” History repeats itself and people don’t learn from past mistakes. Pharaoh’s behavior, his treatment of the Jews at the expense of his own country, led to the destruction of his own kingdom.

It is not the first time in the Chumash that we see such governmental policy – if it is good for the Jews or a Jewish benefit, it is not good for us, no matter what the consequences. In the Book of Breishis, we find that Avraham and Yitzchak dug wells in the land of the Philistines –that bastion of peace known as the Gaza Strip. Avraham and Yitzchak found water that would be helpful, not only to them, but also for the entire region. Yet, the Philistines stuffed the up the wells. Why? Because it is better to have no water and suffer than to have Jewish water.

So, one of the lessons from this week’s Parsha is don’t be surprised by the reaction of the world to Jewish accomplishments. We know what we have done, and the world knows what we have done for their benefit.

We see from the Tanach that the world eventually will recognize the benefit that we bring to the world. Perhaps the world should try to appreciate us sooner rather than later and save themselves a lot of grief and aggravation.