January 17, 2002
A Portion of Parshat Bo
In last week's parsha, the Israelites sat back and watched as God brought seven plagues upon the Egyptians. This week, we read of the final three plagues. All of a sudden, the Israelites are told that they must help God in the last plague. How? They must smear the blood of a lamb on the doorposts of their houses. Why? So that God will know not to strike those houses with the plague of the killing of the firstborn. Instead, God will pass over those houses. But God is all-knowing. Doesn't God know which houses are Jewish?
God has made a decision. It's time for the Israelites to start taking some responsibility. Yes, they were slaves, but they did not have to take care of themselves. It is now time for them to become a nation. It is time for them to take action and learn about right and wrong -- just like children. So God says: you must participate in your release from slavery. You will become free -- and with freedom comes responsibility.