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                             PARSHAT BO

Are you searching for the good life? Psalm 34:13-15 has an answer for you: "Who is the man who desires life, who loves days of seeing good? Guard your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it."

King David seems to be advising us to avoid evil whenever possible. Focus on doing good: lighting a candle will disperse much darkness.

This seems different from the advice given in the Haggadah on how to respond to the evil son who asks why you are doing all that Passover work. The Haggadah teaches us that we must respond strongly and directly to him. Tell him that by excluding himself from our expression of thanks to Hashem, he forfeits his own redemption. "Had you been there," we tell him, "you would have not been redeemed."

When is it appropriate to turn away from evil, as Tehillim 34 teaches, and when is it necessary to confront it?

Perhaps, our Parshah can help us understand this concept. The wicked son's question is found this week in Shmot 12:26. The Rasha is not really looking for an answer, rather his purpose is to antagonize and belittle those who choose to express their gratitude to Hashem. He forgets that the penalty for not recognizing and appreciating Hashem's gifts is to eventually lose them.

Verse 27 continues with the words, "Vaamartem Zevach Pesach Hu LaHashem" - and you shall say that this is a Passover Feast Offering to Hashem. The Torah tells us to make that statement (and not necessarily to him) for engaging in a discussion with a scoffer is futile. Here, the general rule of avoiding evil and concentrating on doing good, applies. However, when the evil is in your face (as at the seder table), and the Torah's honor is at stake while others are have no choice.

Then you must confront the evil, have the right answers at hand and be strong. "Hakeh Et Shinav" (Haggadah) - set his teeth on edge and let everyone around you hear the truth. Indeed, "Al Tischaber L'rasha" - do not associate with a wicked person (Pirkei Avot 1:7). If you cannot reach him, avoid him.

To be a "Yehudi" is to say "Modeh Ani," I thank you Hashem, and it is my privilege to serve you every day; that is what this work is to me.

Kol Tov!  Our best to's all good. Shabbat Shalom, CM


Parshat BO contains the final 3 plagues. In fact, the very word BO adds up to 3 (Bet+Aleph). How can we remember that the first 7 plagues are in last week's Parshah VAERA?


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