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Two Minutes of Torah: Bo - Sharing our Story

One of the things I often think about is how we maintain, keep, and preserve the stories of previous generations.  I know that my grandparents have tremendous stories about their life experiences and what they went through in Europe and in Israel in their respective lives.  And I also know that I have not done a good enough job of recording their stories and keeping hold of them so that I in turn can tell them to my children and my children's children.  Sharing our story preserving our story is really important for our community and our families as well. 

In this week's Torah portion it is clear that the idea of sharing a story and telling a story to the next generation is at the center.  It is interesting to note that while we are in the midst of the Ten Plagues the division between last week's Torah portion and this week's Torah portion is plague number seven and plague number eight.  And we might wonder why we start this week's Torah portion with the eighth plague, in the middle of the cycle.  

We read that: ‘Adonai said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh. For I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his courtiers, in order that I may display these My signs among them’ (Ex. 10:1).  And then in what I think is the crucial moment it says: ‘that you may recount in the hearing of your children and of your children’s childen how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I displayed My signs among them — in order that you may know that I am Adonai”’ (Ex. 10:2).  By dividing the Torah portion here so that Bo begins with these verses our Torah portion begins with the idea that after these plagues our obligation is to recount the story to our children and to our children's children, the ones who will not have witnessed the plagues and Egypt will not have seen it first-hand. 

And as the Torah portion goes on, it continues by establishing the festival of Pesach (Passover) as a feast throughout the generations.  Ensuring that this will be a law for you and for your children and that when they will ask questions you will in turn answer telling them of the story. 

This week's Torah portion makes it clear that while the Exodus from Egypt was important for the generation who experienced it; it was also important for future generations to tell the story and to share it.  In this way it would not be forgotten and it could be recounted, and shared, from generation to generation, exactly as we do in the Seder. 

This week emphasizes the importance of sharing our story, and in preserving it for future generations.  It is important for our Jewish story as a whole, but it is also important that each one of us as individuals, and as families, preserve our stories.  Write them down, collect them, and record them, so that we in turn can share them with our children and our children's children.

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