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Bo בֹּא

Continuing with insights from Va'eira...

The final three plagues performed on Pharaoh and the Egyptians – locusts, darkness, and death of the firstborn – were intended to penetrate the Pharaoh at his core. The only way to eliminate someone so powerful is to destroy his quintessence.

I will focus on the final plague.

The death of the firstborn pierced Pharaoh, forcing him to let the Jewish people go. Symbolically, the final plague penetrated the root of all evil: egocentrism. Pharaoh believed he was the creator of his destiny and self-made. His narcissism caused him to misappropriate his passions. A ruler is a passionate leader, but if he uses his passions falsely he can create evil; evil is merely a misappropriation of the passions. Rather than elevating his passions to help people, he focused them on material goods that elevated his ego but diminished his true self.

In other words, if you were the creator of your own moral compass, as Pharaoh believed he was, you are as flimsy as the wind, easily affected by thoughts and words of others.

Pharaoh’s egocentrism is presented to us as a lesson. We see the extreme punishment Pharaoh experienced by losing his son. It is important for us to have a healthy ego. One that is invested and in tune with ourselves, but also open-minded to others and trusting with G-d’s purpose.

The relation of the plagues to our characteristics makes me think of the importance of awareness. Each of us are given a choice in life to be who we want to be and act how we want to act, but consequences, or plagues in this sense, can always occur. Sometimes, these plagues can happen to us unconsciously. Thus, it is important to work for a stronger sense of awareness. It is much easier to let yourself go from exile after the first plague than it is to try and turn your life back to G-d after the tenth plague.

How you do one thing is how you do everything. If you cannot give 100% effort to one of your priorities, it will affect the effort you bring to the other areas of your life.

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