We, Ourselves, Were Slaves—Freeing Today’s Captives
Posted on January 13, 2016
This week our people gets out of Egypt—or, to be more accurate, we chant the Torah portion of Bo which includes the description of the Exodus from Egyptian slavery and the establishment of the rites and rituals of the observance of the Passover.
Read more: Rabbi Cohon’s Weekly Torah Talk on Bo 5776
Plagues and Justice
Posted on February 6, 2016
As this week’s portion of Va’era begins, the Israelites are in Egyptian slavery, and the mysterious figure of Moses has returned to try free them from bondage. In Va’era, God brings about a series of plagues that traumatize the Egyptians, and bedevil the Pharaoh, king of Egypt: blood, frogs, lice, wild beasts, boils, and cattle disease serially afflict the land and its inhabitants, or at least the non-Israelite inhabitants. In next week’s portion of Bo, three more plagues will come—hail, locusts, and darkness—all leading up to the final plague and the climactic death scene of the slaying of the first-born and the Exodus, the great moment in which our ancestors are freed from slavery. It is the model for narratives of deliverance and emancipation ever after.
Read more: Rabbi Cohon’s Weekly Torah Talk on Va'eira 5776