Parashas Bo

This week’s parashah relates the Jewish People’s exodus from Egypt. Now, when Moshe originally asked Pharaoh to let the Jews leave Egypt, he asked permission only for a temporary trip. The request was to allow the Jews to go to a place three days’ journey away from Egypt, to observe a festival of Hashem, and then return. The obvious question arises: Why did Hashem direct Moshe to frame his request in this way, when His intent was to take the Jews out of Egypt permanently? Various commentators have given various answers to this question. Here we present the Maggid’s answer.
The Maggid, in typical fashion, brings out his answer with a parable. He tells of a rich man accosted on the street by a drunk. The rich man, in line with his station, was wearing an elegant suit. The drunk claimed the suit was his, and accused the rich man of stealing it. The rich man replied gently: “I would never dream of stealing something from you. I asked your wife to let me borrow this suit for a day, and she agreed.” The drunk was satisfied with this answer and went on his way. The rich man’s son asked his father: “Why did you make up this story instead of simply telling this guy that it is your suit?” The rich man replied: “I felt there was no point in my getting in a quarrel with him now. So I told him this story to get him out of the way. Tomorrow he will sober up, and then he will be ashamed of his accusation.”
The parallel is as follows. Hashem knew that ultimately there would come a point where the Jews would be unable to tarry in Egypt any longer – He would have to take them out to keep them from falling over the spiritual brink. And He knew further that there would be a six-day interval between the time this moment arrived and the time the Egyptians would reach the quota of evildoing that would make them worthy of being destroyed. So Hashem made up the story of the six-day round trip vacation as a stalling tactic. On the seventh day, the story became irrelevant, for on that day the Egyptians hit the critical point in their evildoing, and Hashem drowned them in the sea.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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