WWOT: Weekly Words of Torah – Parashat Bo

To inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women
By Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, Executive Director, Women’s League For Conservative Judaism

Over the past two weeks, we have read in our Torah portions, Parashat Va’era last week and Parashat Bo this week, a sum total of ten plagues, which fell on the Egyptians by the hand of God. We learn these stories from a very young age, and recount these stories every year at the Passover Seder. It is the custom of many to drop a bit of wine or grape juice, using either one’s finger, for example, the pinky finger, or a utensil each time we recite the name of a plague at the Passover Seder to indicate that, even when the blood of our enemy is shed, we too shed blood and ‘cry’ for our enemies’ losses. We learn that we cannot rejoice if our enemies suffer, and so we remember that today, by pouring a little bit of wine or grape juice each time we say a plague at the Seder. What are our modern-day plagues? Should we do something similar when we reach this section in our weekly Torah reading?

Let us think about what plagues us today, and how we react when those plagues impact those we love and those to whom we do not have as close a relationship. How can we see God in those relationships? And will we try to make a difference to decrease these plagues?

WWOT, Weekly Words of Torah is a brief paragraph prepared weekly by our new Executive Director, Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, presented in our “This Week @ Women’s League.” WWOT will provide meaningful thoughts related to the Weekly Torah Portion, an event on the Calendar, a Prayer, or something of Jewish interest, to inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women. If you have any particular interest in future topics, or want to send Rabbi Wolintz-Fields an email, you can contact her at ewolintz-fields@wlcj.org. Read previous Weekly Words of Torah here.