Parshat Bo: It's been a long night.
On the morning after the 10th plague the Israelites emerged from their homes to find that despite the trauma of the night - of so many dark nights - the sun had indeed arisen. This week in the life of our nation, we too find ourselves having survived a long night.
I imagine that the Israelites were relieved and grateful that their lives, and their children had been spared, but I hope they were not celebratory for all around them Egyptian families suffered because their Pharaoh had demanded their faith but denied them protection as he thought only of himself. I hope our ancestors wept with appreciation that they had lived, and also with compassion for the depth of destruction that came at the price of their freedom.
What they did not yet know, is that despite their exhaustion they would be asked to make a life altering choice to stay in Egypt or wander into an unknown future. They were a People who did not remember freedom. They were a People who did not know compassionate or responsible leadership. They were not yet a People of faith and yet, they went.
At the end of Parshat Bo the Israelites stand at an inbetween place, there is no going back because the “before” no longer exists. There is no clarity of what will be because they have not yet built it, there is only the knowledge that they must gather those who they love, muster their strength and courage, and move patiently forward one step at a time.
This Shabbat, we take a much needed rest to appreciate the miracle of reaching this day when so many around us are lost. This Shabbat we celebrate the power of unity and we recognize that not all among us feel jubilant and some may need our grace and patience in ways they cannot express. This Shabbat we will enjoy complete rest and when the new week comes we will be ready for the journey ahead.