IF this week’s sedra, Bo, looks more familiar than usual, there is a good reason. No less than three different portions from the sedra are read on special occasions.

These are the first day of Pesach, the first weekday of Chol Hamoed Pesach and Parshat Hachodesh — read on or just before Rosh Chodesh Nissan. Naturally, these all revolve around Pesach. This is not surprising, as Bo is the sedra of the actual Exodus from Egypt.

What is more, several verses are used in the haggada on seder night and the final portion of the sedra is recited on laying tefillin in the morning. This is because the mitzvah of tefillin is actually mentioned.

Wearing tefillin reminds us of the Exodus. Indeed, two of the four paragraphs in Tefillin are from that last chapter of the sedra (the other two are the first two paragraphs of the Shema).

The sedra begins with the final three plagues — locusts, darkness and the slaying of the firstborn.

Prior to the latter plague, Moses instructs the Children of Israel to procure a lamb for each household.

This was to be kept for several days — despite being Egypt’s equivalent of a “sacred cow”.

On the 14th of Nissan it was to be slaughtered and the blood of the animal was to be put on the doorposts and lintels of every Jewish house.

When the Almighty killed all first-born Egyptians, He literally “passed over” the Jewish houses — which were displaying the blood.

The Children of Israel then left Egypt . . . with Pharaoh’s blessing. They left in such a hurry that they could only bake matzot — unleavened bread.

We are then told of the laws of Passover, which was to be celebrated yearly on the anniversary of the Exodus.

Today (Friday) is the third of Shevat. This is the day that, according to Kabbalah — if it should fall on a Friday - as, of course, it does — the winter will be cold and snowy.

You can’t say you weren’t warned!


© 2018 Jewish Telegraph