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Parashat Bo – January 4, 2014

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Candle lighting time for Friday, January 3, 2014, 4:47 p.m.

Parashat Bo

3 Shevat, 5774/January 4, 2014
Triennial Cycle Year I: Exodus 10:1-11:3
Humash Etz Hayim, page 374
Haftarah: Jeremiah 46:13-28, page 395


  1. (10:1-29) The eighth plague, Locusts, and the ninth plague, Darkness.
  2. (11:1-3) God announces to Moses the last and decisive plague, and instructs him to tell the people to prepare for leaving by asking the Egyptians for jewels and gold, which the terrified Egyptians readily give.


Walk a Mile in My Shoes
by Rabbi Daniel Pressman

Locusts invaded all the land of Egypt and settled within all the territory of Egypt in a thick mass; never before had there been so many, nor will there ever be so many again. (Exodus 10:14)

And of that [locust plague] that took place in the days of Joel, it is said: There was never one like it (Joel 2:2). This teaches us that it was more severe than [the plague in the days of] Moses.1 [This contradiction can be resolved by noting] that one [in Joel] was [composed] of many species [of locusts] that were together: arbeh, yelek, ḥasil, [and] gazam; but [the locust plague] of Moses consisted of only one species [the arbeh], and its equal [that is, one plague of just one variety of locust] never was [before] and never will be [after it]. (Rashi)

It is true that in the days of Joel there were more locusts than there were in Egypt. However, that is only in actual numbers of locusts. In Egypt, the relative damage done by the locusts after the devastation by other plagues (like the hail) that destroyed much of the vegetation was greater than any other time. (Ḥatam Sofer)

The underlying idea expressed by the Ḥatam Sofer gives us some insight into understanding the difficulties that others are suffering. Or better still, it shows us how we can never completely understand the suffering of another person. When someone suffers because of some event, the actual pain is subjective rather than objective. This means that the pain suffered because of anything that happens is proportionate to what the situation means to the person who is suffering. When someone reacts to a situation with more suffering than you think is justified, there is always the possibility that this situation represents for that person “the straw that breaks the camel’s back.” Because of things that already happened to this person what occurred caused that person much more pain than you would have experienced if you were in the same situation. When someone reacts very strongly to some matter, ask the person, “What does this mean to you?” This empathetic question will help you understand that person better and possibly help him. (Rabbi Zelig Pliskin)

Don’t judge your fellow human being until you have reached that person’s place. (Pirkei Avot 2:4)

If you see your neighbor ensnared by some temptation, don’t judge them harshly until you have faced the same temptation and mastered it. (Rabbi Ovadiah Bartinoro)

A person is not able to judge his fellow’s deeds, unless he is in the identical situation. “It is impossible for a person to have the necessary compassion for the poor without he himself having experienced the taste of poverty, its distress and its bitterness.” (Rabbi Yosef Shabtai Farḥi) Only a person who has been in a similar situation and felt what his fellow has felt can understand him. (Avraham Shtal)

1Thus Joel seems to contradict our verse, which says that the plague of locusts in Egypt was the worst that ever was.


Mitzvah a Month

Balk Family Memorial Camp Scholarship

Hadashot Religious School

Mishloah Manot Fundraiser

Items Needed for Sisterhood Silent Auction

Minyan – Sunday 9:30 am & Monday – Thursday 7:00 p.m.


Saturday, January 11: Youth Congregation – 10:30 a.m.

Saturday, January 11: Haverim – 11:00 a.m.

Saturday, January 11: Tot Shabbat – 11:15 a.m.

Saturday, January 18: Sisterhood Shabbat – 9:30 a.m.


Sunday, January 5: Threads of Tradition – 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Saturday, January 11: Book Discussion Group – 1:30 p.m.

Sunday, January 12: Sunday Seminar – 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Wednesday, January 15: CBD Winter Blood Drive – 3:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Thursdays beginning January 16: Adult B’nai Mitzvah Class – 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, January 18: Sisterhood Shabbat – 9:30 a.m.

Saturday, January 18: Communal Tu B’Shevat Seders – after services

Saturday, January 18: Mussar Matters – after lunch about 1:30 p.m.

Sunday, January 19: Tikkun Olameinu – CBD Repairs the World – 9:30 a.m

Sunday, January 19: Poverty Simulation – 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Sunday, January 19: Upsherin (the cutting of hair) for Eli Ohriner – 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Friday, January 24: Cantorial Shabbat and Hazak Shabbat & Dinner – 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Friday, January 31: Hagigat Noar – Celebration of Youth – 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 16: Mah Jong Tournament – 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Tuesday, February 18: Engaging Israel: Foundation for a New Relationship – 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Thursday, February 20 – Sunday February 23: Scholar-in-Residence Program


January 6-10 and January 12: South Bay Teen Idol Auditions

Thursday, January 9: PJs and Pancakes with PJ Library – 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

Saturday January 11: Let’s Dance – Jewish Singles ages 40 – 70 – 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. Email to RSVP

Sunday, January 26: Jewbilee – 1:00 – 8:00 p.m.