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Haggadah-Random Thoughts & Ideas VI

I found these ideas in a notebook. They are not mine, and I have no idea whose they are; but they are wonderful: “Bo el Paroh” (go to Pharaoh) is different from the wording used in the Torah in Sedra Va’era when G-d sent Moshe to confront Pharaoh for the first plague of blood at the Nile River. There, we find the word lech (which also means to go). Here, before the onset of the fourth plague of arov (pestilence), G-d said, “Place yourself before Pharaoh.” When the word lech is used, it means meeting Pharaoh at the Nile; bo means, “Place yourself in front of him.” The words bo or lech are characteristic of the messages.


We speak of people with two personalities. There are people who are always sinning and always repenting. King Herod was such a one. He murdered sages and then redecorated the Beit Hamikdash and prostrated himself before G-d. A man of power should not be a dual personality: they must reconcile their contradictions. If the king wants to enjoy many good years on the throne, he must reside amongst the people. To be authoritarian does not mean to lack compassion.

Moses was told to approach Pharaoh as a the emperor and also to approach “another” Pharaoh; as a private person.

When he approaches Pharaoh as the king, he met him at the Nile, the symbol of power in Egypt, “Address yourself to the power oriented Pharaoh at the source of power, Nile. Stop him; block him. Tell him there are forces stronger. Place yourself strongly in front of him and protest!”

Then, we find the word bo used. “Go into the king in the palace when he is an ordinary man, a person, a father. Tell him how wrong it is to throw a child into the water. Tell him about Abraham, about morality. Perhaps he will respond.”

There is a spark of good even in the most wicked. We use the word bo when we ask someone to come closer. Lech means go, go away. In this case, the words lech el Paroh would seem to be of no sense. The Almighty who is ubiquitous is remote and close at all times. There is no difference; therefore, G-d can use bo and lech.

When G-d told Moses the first time, “Lech el Paroh” the voice originated near Moshe. One can never leave the Almighty, for He walks with man, and when man reaches his destination, he finds G-d. “Bo el Paroh” “When you come, you will find Pharaoh and Me.” Or, it could mean, “I will go with you.”

Why did G-d command in such a strange way; “Come to Pharaoh and Me,” or “Come with me?” When Moshe said, “Who am I to go to Pharaoh,” G-d answered, “Because I will be with you.”

There are two forms of shelichut (being an agent).

First is simply to perform a mission by proxy.

The second is personalistic: two people united by a bond of friendship, committed, sharing each other’s trials or joys. They achieve a common identity. Thus, in the Beit Hamikdash, the kohen who prepared the sacrifice did it for the person who brought it, but the one who brought it had to be present. He could not send it by proxy. This is the personalistic one.

After the mission is accomplished, the shaliach is not mentioned. The individual deserves no praise. G-d is the warrior! Man never is the warrior. When man becomes the teacher, the mentor, he deserves praise.

G-d does not bestow political economic power on man. G-d was the speaker, the actor. G-d longs for man, but he accomplished all. “Lo al yadai shaliach” (not through the hands of a messenger)-not second class! He was in first class as merely a proxy. Without Moshe there would be no geulah, but the entire geulah, the entire credit is G-d’s. We do not say “Moshe Go’alainu” (Moses the redeemer), for man is not powerful. Power does not belong to man. The little malignant cell kills the most powerful.

We do, however, say “Moshe Rabbainu” (Moses our teacher). Kingship and power belongs to G-d, but the attribute of knowledge, grace and kindness can be man’s to be like G-d.

G-d did not permit Moshe’s name to be mentioned in the exodus, but He did permit his name to be recorded throughout the Torah. G-d tells Moshe, “You will never be called a man of power, but will always be called the great leader.”

Thus, in Shir Hashirim we have but an allusion to Moshe; his name is not mentioned. “In the middle of the night on my bed I sought him (that is Moses). When I found whom I love, I held him and would not let him go. I brought him to my mother’s house!”

On the night of Mitzrayim, Moses’s name is eliminated. Similarly, when the Haggadah of the Mashiach (Messiah) is written, Mashiach’s name also will not be mentioned.

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