(Torah Portion Bo) Shopping!

Two weeks before the exodus of the Jewish nation from Egypt, G-d spoke to Moshe detailing to him the laws and requirements of the Pascal lamb, how it should be designated, slaughtered, and roasted, and that it was to be eaten at night right before they were redeemed from Egypt.

The Torah relates that Moshe went and instructed the Jewish people the laws and procedures regarding the Pascal lamb, which included dashing the blood of the sacrifice upon the inner lintel and doorposts of their homes, eating the Pascal lamb with Matzah and Morror, and not to leave their homes during the night while the plague of slaying the Egyptian first born was taking place.

After Moshe completed explaining the intricacies of the laws, the Torah states; “The Jews all went and did exactly as G-d commanded.”

Our great commentator Rashi quotes the Medrash which focuses on the seemingly extra words “They went.” The Torah mentions their going to perform the Mitzvah to teach us that the Jews received reward on two accounts; for going and preparing themselves to do the Mitzvah and for actually fulfilling the Mitzvah itself.

One receives an additional reward for the effort and preparation for doing a Mitzvah!

This explanation gave me the opportunity to reflect on the brutal and horrific attack in the Paris Kosher food market just two short weeks ago, where the lives of four precious Jewish souls were extinguished while shopping for food in anticipation of celebrating a spirited and enjoyable Shabbos.

Although their hopes were sadly dashed, their lives were taken while they were in the midst of expressing their intent to observe and enjoy the Shabbos and its meals and treats!

“They went,” in anticipation to observe the holy Shabbos and thus were in the process of receiving G-dly rewards for their holy efforts when their lives were cut short.

Where did their souls go to at that point? Our Sages tell us that that the World to Come is called – Shabbos Umenucha Lechayai Olamim – A Sabbath and tranquility for eternity.

They went from the anticipation of our physical Shabbos directly to the spiritual eternal Shabbos!

Yoav Hattab, 21, was one of the victims of the Paris Hyper Cacher Kosher supermarket terror attack. His last text to a friend just before he was innocently gunned down was an encouraging word to observe the upcoming Shabbat. The conversation went like this: Yoav: Try to make the Shabbath as soon as you arrive. Friend: This Shabbat is very stressful, I have exams tomorrow morning, and I’m taking a flight, but after Shabbat. Yoav: This is a difficult time in France for Jews…at least try…. Yoav: Do not do everything but at least do something. Friend: Ok, don’t worry of course I’ll do it. Yoav: You’re the bomb. Friend: lol thank you.

During the Shiva period, Yoav’s father wrote a letter to encourage all Jews to do whatever they could to observe and honor the Shabbat – something that will bring a merit to Yoav and the other three holy martyrs – who held the Shabbat very special.

The verse that describes the Jewish people going and doing whatever G-d instructed concludes with, “Moshe and Aaron also did it.”

The obvious question is why should we think that Moshe and Aaron, the leaders of the Jewish people, would be exempt or precluded from the laws of the Pascal lamb, if the Torah had not specifically stated that they did it as well?

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein o.b.m. explains: Had the Torah not told us that Moshe and Aaron also performed all the Mitzvos associated with the Pascal lamb, one might have thought that since they were so great and clear in their understanding, belief and commitment to G-d, they did not need to actually perform the Mitzvah of Pascal lamb. In fact, one might think that they did not need to fulfill other commandments as well – because they were above it. The Torah therefore informs us and stresses that there are no exemptions – it is mandatory for the greatest people to perform Mitzvos. The leaders have the same responsibility to perform mitzvos as a Bar or Bat Mitzvah boy and girl who are fresh inductees to the Mitzvos.

The Mitzvahs are essential for every Jew – no one is excused!

Wishing you a most enjoyable and uplifting Shabbat!
Rabbi Dovid and Malki Saks and family