Parshat Bo By: Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron בס”ד
Discover the Holy Presence in the Holy Land
The Digestive System
This Parsha contains the first mitzvoth that were given to the Jewish People, many of which are involved with what one must eat or what one must not eat on Pesach. Also, the mouth, the initiator of the eating process, takes a central role also in the telling of the Pesach story, also detailed in this Parsha. Why is eating so essential in the story of the Exodus? According to the kabbalists, eating involves “raising sparks” embedded in the coarse material of food and raising them towards the service of the soul, considered a “spark of the Divine.” Ultimately, one who sanctifies himself and eats proper foods with proper manner and intent is capable of achieving high Divine manifestation and influence from Above, similar to that of an offering brought in the Beit Hamikdash.
In a parallel nature, the Arizal teaches that Israel in the Exile of Egypt was part of a process also called “raising sparks.” The Arizal explains that First Adam accidentally sinned when he separated from his wife Hava for a course of 130 years. As a result, sparks of the Divine that were before within Adam departed from him and were scattered upon the earth, where a considerable amount of them centered in the Land of Egypt. Many years later, the pure souls of Israel, who were essentially a continuation of the Grand Soul of Adam, who included all souls throughout history in his microcosm, were given the mission to gather and “raise these sparks” back to their Divine source. This mission was accomplished by Israel’s living, for an extended period of time, in the Land of Egypt where many of these sparks were centered, and also by enduring the afflictions they suffered by the Egyptians. When this was achieved sufficiently, Hashem redeemed Israel from Egypt in the Exodus.
Thus, in the context of “raising sparks,” the process of eating and the Exodus are identical. There is also another very important connection between eating and the Exodus. The goal of the Exodus was to bring Israel back to the Holy Land promised to our Forefathers and their descendants, as it says in the final term of all the terms of redemption (p. Vaera): “and I shall bring you to the Land.” Also, the primary positive biblical commandment attached to eating on a daily basis is the bless Hashem for giving us the Holy Land, after eating bread – the Birkat Hamazon, as it says: “you shall eat and be satisfied, and you shall bless Hashem your God for the good Land He has given you.” The Arizal adds that not only in Egypt was “raising sparks” a central theme but also throughout all the exiles of Israel throughout history “raising sparks” in each land is a primary theme. When there are many Jews centered in one location that is a sign that there are many sparks to be raised there, and sometimes there are fewer sparks that are meant to be raised by certain individuals who are somewhat isolated from the rest of Jewish concentration in the Diaspora. In any case, the goal here is the same as in Egypt: to raise the sparks to their source, the Holy Presence which rests in the Holy Land and Temple. Hebron, Beacon of the Holy Land, is a symbol of this process since Hebron means to “connect”, representing re-connecting these sparks to their original source. Also, in Hebron is Maarat Hamachpela, the threshold of Gan Eden where all souls ascend and rise to their Divine source in Heaven.
Miracles from the Holy Land: Third Day of the Six-Day War:
Political pressure mounts as leading nations call upon Israel to accept a ceasefire proposed by King Hussein of Jordan. At the last moment, this ceasefire was nixed by the unwillingness of King Hussein to comply with the terms of the ceasefire he himself initiated! Indeed, “the hearts of kings and rulers are in the hand of G-d.” This allowed the IDF to finish the task of completely annihilating the enemy’s military infrastructure, and to bring the Old City of Jerusalem under Israeli control. The Old City had been under Jordanian control since 1948. For nineteen years Jews had been banned from visiting its holy sites, including the Western Wall, where Jews had prayed for thousands of years. On this day Jerusalem was reunited, and once again a united Jerusalem was the capital of the Jewish people. On this day, Israel captures many cities. The most notable ones: East Jerusalem (including the Old City and the Temple Mount), Sharm El-Sheikh (taken by the Israeli Navy), Judea, Jericho, Gush Etzion, and Nablus. Source: https://www.chabad.org/multimedia/timeline_cdo/aid/525322/jewish