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Parashat Bo (Come)

Parashat Bo - Exodus 10:1-13:16
In this Torah portion, God sends the eighth and ninth plagues, locusts and
darkness, but Pharaoh still refuses to free the Israelite slaves. God tells Moses
that the tenth plague will be killing all the firstborn Egyptians. God commands
each Israelite home to slaughter a lamb and spread the blood on their doorposts,

in order to protect their firstborns. After the death of the firstborn, Pharaoh
demands that the Israelites leave.
The last three of the Ten Plagues are visited on Egypt: a swarm of locusts
devours all the crops and greenery; a thick, palpable darkness envelops the land;
and all the firstborn of Egypt are killed at the stroke of midnight of the 15th

of the month of Nissan.
G-d commands the first mitzvah to be given to the people of Israel: to establish
a calendar based on the monthly rebirth of the moon. The Israelites are also
instructed to bring a "Passover offering" to G-d: a lamb or kid is to be
slaughtered and its blood sprinkled on the doorposts and lintel of every

Israelite home, so that G-d should pass over these homes when He comes to kill
the Egyptian firstborn. The roasted meat of the offering is to be eaten that
night together with matzah (unleavened bread) and bitter herbs.

The death of the firstborn finally breaks Pharaoh's resistance and he literally
drives the Children of Israel from his land. So hastily do they depart, there is
no time for their dough to rise, and the only provisions they take along are
unleavened. Before they go, they ask their Egyptian neighbors for gold, silver
and garments, draining Egypt of its wealth.

The Children of Israel are commanded to consecrate all firstborn and to observe
the anniversary of the Exodus each year by removing all leaven from their
possession for seven days, eating matzah, and telling the story of their
redemption to their children. They are also commanded to wear tefillin on the arm
and head as a reminder of the Exodus and their resultant commitment to G-d.
 

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