Locusts, Darkness and Death of the first born. The plagues, Makot, literally meaning “strikes” strike against Pharoah’s enslavement of the Hebrews having intensified from the waters to the land to the sky, the realm of Higher Being. The intensity of the liberation movement is reaching a climax. We experience the last three Makot in Parshat Bo. The Makah of the Locusts further devastates the economy. The Makah of Darkness is a metaphor for confusion and a blindness of mind, heart and purpose plaguing the Pharoah and the Egyptian oppressors. It is during these Makot that the Israelites more fully buy into the struggle for their liberation. They now see the light and begin to emerge from their own darkness to transcend their physical suffering and weak hearts.
Is this a children’s bedtime story? Oy. Hardly. Should parents and/or teacher read such horrific stories to children? Do we want to perpetuate intergenerational trauma? I believe this story is meant to teach us, to remind us, to take actions when we are threatened by injustice, discrimination, and darkness. We are reminded to do Mitzvot. We note in the Parsha the significance of Matza. The plural is Matzot, just one letter short of Mitzvot. A teaching shared by Rabbi David Wolfe Blank z”l, reminds us that Matzah, the bread of liberation, doesn’t depend on fermentation before we act. Mitzvot and the taste that we savor from doing mitzvot is compared to freshly baked Matzah.
Our country and much of the world is threatened by locusts, darkness and death. How do we bring light to a nation and leadership that has yet to respond fully to mass shootings? Perhaps each of us could choose a Congressperson who has been smitten by darkness and try to bring him/her light. Adopt a congressperson! Send that person a card, maybe some dark chocolate. Leave a message.
Our sages taught that if we do 100 Brachot a day the Messianic Age will come. I say, if we do one intention filled Mitzvah a day, we will also get closer to the Land of Promise. See you at the Sea of Reeds! Reb David