375 Aberdeen Ave., Hamilton, ON L8P 2R7 | 905-522-1351 | office@bethjacobsynagogue.ca

The Invisible Chaperon

Parashat Bo
Our Torah portion opens with God telling Moses, “Bo el Par’oh” – “come to Pharaoh.” Moses is told to go warn Pharaoh about the impending plague of locust.
The language God uses to tell him to go, though, is a bit perplexing, as God tells him to ‘come’ to Pharaoh rather than to ‘go’ to him.
Some might explain that this phraseology is in accordance with our understanding of God being everywhere at once, or being above the concept of place itself. Though God is speaking to Moses far from Pharaoh’s palace, God is, in fact, no more present in front of Moses than God is in front of Pharaoh. When Moses moves, he never approaches or distances himself from God, thus the distinction between ‘come’ and ‘go’ is meaningless when God is speaking.
Others choose to read something deeper into this phraseology. Though God is indeed above time and space, in choosing to interact with human beings, God chooses to seem to be more present in some places at given times. God saying to Moses “come to Pharaoh” indicates that God is actually already there, waiting for Moses.
Is God there to protect Moses, or to guide his tongue? Is God there because God cannot tolerate the unjust way Pharaoh is treating the Israelites? Is God already there because God has been busy preparing some of the groundwork for the eventual success of the mission?
Perhaps all these reasons are true. Perhaps there are more reasons as well.
In Psalm 91:15 God says, “I am with them when they are in trouble.” As with Moses in Egypt, when we go through difficult times, when we face challenges, when we are suffering – we should try to find the signs of God’s presence being there, suffering with us, and protecting and inspiring us to do what we need to do. God is there during the good times as well. We are never alone.
Shabbat Shalom.