Bo: Materialism Israel v. Egypt

Sometimes you can go a whole week of reading the parsha on the bus, the train, waitingin line… and somehow you miss the gem.

In Chapter 10 in the plague of darkness, Pharoah calls Moses and says, you and your people and their children can go, but the sheep and cattle they stay. The word is “yozug” which is funny and rashi tells you: stay in place. The Ramban gives an incite into Pharoahs thinking. According to Ramban Pharoah knows that Jews have big herds. It represents their material weatlth. Pharoah thinks they will not leave their herds and not come back. Once they are back all will be ok. He thinks they are tethered to Egypt by their wealth.

Moses answer beautifully: We will take in even yours to offer. And our cattle we will take and not leave a hoof in order to serve gd as we dont know what service gd come to us there.

What is Moses saying: You think we have this stuff just to pad our balance. Our material is all subject to the whims of Hashem. We have it to serve him. Moses dispels Pharoah’s understanding of material values. To Pharoah it herds are totally physical. To Moses and Israel material items are used in the service in god.

As I said, it did not come to me until I was sitting at the beautiful shabbos table, with silver kiddush cups, beautiful challah covers, great food. It is great to have and enjoy, but it is done in the context of service.

So next time you pull your Aston Martin out of the garage, remember, it is all in the service of Gd.

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