Beyond Twelve Gates
Parshas Bo January 22, 2010
Welcome to Beyond Twelve
Gates. I share with you a sad obituary.
Today we mourn the passing of
a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been
with us for many years. He will be remembered as having cultivated such
valuable lessons as:
Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
Why the early bird gets the worm;
Life isn't always fair; and maybe it was my own fault.
Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than
you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
His health began to deteriorate rapidly with reports of a 6-year-old boy
charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate and teens suspended
from school for using mouthwash after lunch. His condition worsened upon
hearing that a teacher was fired for reprimanding an unruly student.
Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked
teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in
disciplining their unruly children. He lost
his will to live in seeing criminals receive better treatment than their
victims. His inevitable decline began after a woman failed to realize that
a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was
promptly awarded a huge settlement.
Common Sense was preceded in
death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife,
Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and
by his son, Reason. He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, I
Want It Now, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I'm A Victim. Not many attended his
funeral because so few realized he was gone.
Bo Exodus 10:1 -- 13:16
This week's portion begins
with the eighth plague that G-d brings upon the Egyptians as the land is
covered by locusts, destroying all the remaining crops. After the plague is
removed at Pharaoh's behest, he once again refuses to set free the Jewish
people, and the ninth plague of darkness encompasses the land. When that
plague ends, Pharaoh becomes even more defiant about not freeing the slaves, at
which point Moses warns Pharaoh about the upcoming tenth plague, the death of
the firstborns. The Torah interrupts the narrative here with the first
mitzvah given to the Jewish people as a nation -- the sanctification of Rosh
Chodesh (the new month), beginning with the month of Nisan. G-d
teaches Moses about the korban Pesach (Passover offering) and the rest
of the laws of the Passover holiday, which Moses transmits to the Jewish
At midnight of the appointed
night, the plague strikes, with every non-Jewish first-born dying, including
Pharaoh's own son. Pharaoh awakes, running through the streets
(presumably while still in his pajamas) to tell Moses that he now consents to send
the Jewish people from his country. The children of Israel
travel forth in a hurry with the great wealth they have just been given by the
Egyptians. The Torah portion concludes with
various mitzvos relating to the Exodus.
Despite the almost total
absence of Israelis or Jews in Haiti, the State
of Israel rushed a fully equipped field hospital to the
earthquake-ravaged country. Because of the advanced medical equipment at
the IDF field hospital, the UN coordinator has been sending doctors and
nurses from other countries to join the Israeli medical staff.
Approximately 300 patients were admitted to the hospital thus far. 92
life-saving surgeries were carried out, and 5 babies were delivered, one of
which was the delivery of a 4 pound premature baby. Perhaps the most
poignant incident concerned the Haitian mother whose newborn baby was
successfully delivered by an Israeli medical team. In gratitude, the
mother named her new son ‘Israel' in
honor of the country that helped her.
Israel also sent highly trained search
and rescue teams and a team of its world famous ZAKA volunteers
halfway around the world to offer urgently needed humanitarian
aid. The Israelis have rescued 70 trapped
victims. Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the decision to
immediately send a large delegation of doctors, nurses, medics, rescue forces
as well as drugs and medical equipment expressed the deep values which have
characterized both the Jewish people and the State of Israel throughout
history. We should feel proud of the generous and compassionate
Israeli response, and be inspired to be similarly generous and compassionate to
those in need.
Quote of the Week
When his wife asked him to
change clothes to meet the German Ambassador, Albert Einstein said,
"If they want to see me, here I am. If they want to see my clothes,
open my closet and show them my suits."
Joke of the Week
A man was walking through the desert, desperate for water, when
he saw something far off in the distance. Hoping to find water, he walked
toward the image, only to find a man sitting at a table with a bunch of
neckties laid out.
The man asked, 'Please, I'm
dying of thirst. Give me some water."
The vendor replied, "I
don't have any water, but why don't you buy a nice tie? Here's one that goes
great with your robe."
"I don't want a tie, you
idiot! I need water."
"Ok, so don't buy a
tie. But to show you what a nice guy I am, I'll tell you that two miles
over that sand dune is a nice restaurant.
They'll give you all the water you need."
The man thanked him
and walked away toward the hill. Three hours later he came crawling
back to where the vendor was sitting behind his card table."
"Couldn't you find
it?" the vendor said.
"The man rasped, "I
found it all right. But your brother wouldn't let me in without a
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share with a friend. Thanks to Alan Haber for his assistance in