Parshas Bo
Exodus 10:1 - 13:16

R E M E M B E R I N G ©

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of mysticism in Hebrew Gematria is dedicated in the loving memory of Mr. Michael & Mrs. Chanah Sakash, may they rest in peace.

Dear reader, last week in the article entitled "The Power Of Confession!" {a discussion on the struggle with denial} we wrote:

Pharaoh was steeped in hard denial. Not only was he unwilling to acknowledge his sin of oppressing B'nei Yisroel, he increased the level of oppression. Pharaoh also denied the existence of G-d as a superior Being. He said to Moshe and Aharon, " Who is Hashem that I should obey his voice, to let Yisroel go? I do not know Hashem, nor will I let Yisroel go." Exodus 5:2

Throughout this week's parsha we are constantly reminded that Pharaoh's heart was hard, that his heart remained set in preventing B'nei Yisroel from worshipping Hashem! His denial was a public denial...! It was a sin against Hashem and against His people, B'nei Yisroel! Pharaoh set the tone for the inhabitants of Mitzriam. He ordered his officers to afflict B'nei Yisroel! So at each turn in the course of events, Hashem tells Moshe to remind Pharaoh and the people of Mitzriam, "...that I am Hashem..." Exodus 7:5 "By this you will know that I am Hashem..." Exodus 7:17 "...You will know that there is none like Hashem, our G-d.." Exodus 8:6 "...You will know that I am Hashem in the midst of the earth..." Exodus 8:18 "This is what Hashem the G-d of the Hebrews has said..." Exodus 9:1 Why? " that you may KNOW that there is none like Me in all the earth." Exodus 9:14 " that My Name will be declared throughout the earth." Exodus 9:16

Long before this point, the end of the fifth plague, Pharaoh knew! Yet he continued in his ways of sinful disobedience of Hashem's commands. There are those who know what Hashem has commanded yet in outright denial they continue in their pattern of sin. Their conclusion will be like that of Pharaoh and Mitzriam. They will cross the line as Pharaoh did. Pharaoh reached a place where he was no longer able to control his own heart... his thoughts... his actions... The Torah tells us that G-d took control of them. G-d hardened his heart! When Pharaoh had a choice he chose to oppress B'nei Yisroel. He chose to continue in his pattern of disobedience. He chose to continue his denial of Hashem. He crossed the line that none of us wants to cross. He could not return. This is the danger of the one hardened in denial of Hashem and His commands!!

Holy reader, a staff member at JewishPath posed this question: Can't a Jew return from wherever they are, from however far they have fallen? Isn't the Jewish light an eternal light? Well, the answer is Yes and No! Yes in the sense that it is possible. Yes in the sense that Hashem can draw anyone to him. However in the practical sense, No! Don't be fooled! When a tree is young it is flexible but when it is old the flexibility is gone. If it bends too much it will break. This should serve as a caution to us not to live on the outer perimeters of Judaism where G-d forbid one's lifestyle may prevent one from shuvah...

One may think that eventually they may change their mind BUT that is not necessarily so for those like Pharaoh who cross the line or live on the outer perimeters. It is a very scary, dangerous place to dangle with one's life!

Now in this week's parsha we read,

Hashem said to Moshe, "Go to Pharaoh for I have made his heart stubborn and the heart of his servants... [Why?]...for the purpose of establishing a sign of these [great miracles that I performed] amidst [B'nei Yisroel]. And for the [explicit] purpose that you [carefully] recount [these great miracles] in the ears of your children and your children's children, [especially] how I made a mockery of Mitzriam with great signs and how I ostracized them that you know that I am Hashem." Exodus 10:1,2

The words Voo Li Mah Yahn - Ti Sah Payr, meaning " for the [explicit] purpose that you [carefully] recount [these great miracles]..." so that you may relate... so that you may tell your children and your children's children... This is Jewish "T R A D I T I O N"! Holy reader, telling ... carefully recounting... is a very important mitzvah, yet there is another crucial point to this story. That point is, Can a Jew cross the line? Can a Jew reach a place where there is no point of return? Where S H U V A H does not exist? Certainly Pharaoh did reach this point! We clearly observe this time and again when Hashem hardens his heart. {See Exodus 9:12, 10:20, 10:27, 11:10 and 14:8}.

Voo Li Mah Yahn - Ti Sah Payr {Gematria Kotel}

Voo Li Mah Yahn {and to relate}
196 = Nun = 50 Ayin = 70 Mem = 40 Lamid = 30 Vav = 6
5 = Letters

Ti Sah Payr {to recount [like in a book]}
740 = Reish = 200 Pey = 80 Samech = 60 Sav = 400
4 = Letters

945 = 196 + 5 + 740 + 4

Now when we read the words Vah Yi Chah Zayk - Hashem - Ehs - Layv - Pharaoh, meaning "And Hashem stiffened Pharaoh's heart...," we understand that Pharaoh could NOT choose to let B' nei Yisroel go. Letting B'nei Yisroel go was not among his options. Pharaoh's heart was stiffened because Hashem wanted to make a point with Mitzriam - "JUDGMENT"- and at the same time establish an unforgettable sign with B'nei Yisroel through His great miracles of deliverance.

Hashem desired to establish a Jewish tradition centering around our deliverance from Mitzriam by His great acts while at the same time pronouncing Judgment on Mitzriam for the years B'nei Yisroel suffered under their cruel and harsh treatment!!

So, holy reader, we can see the point of deliverance, but what about the point of crossing the line. Can we see it? When we look into the Gematria we can observe the cautions of not going too far, of being careful, of not wandering beyond voice distance or we may get lost... When our children were young we would go camping, fishing and hiking. I had one serious rule that everyone had to follow, "Don't get out of sight or voice range!" This past year a young child was hiking with friends. The child disappeared and has not been seen since, G-d forbid!

Dear reader, when considering the question, Can a Jew reach a place where there is no point of return... a place where S H U V A H does not exist?... I prefer to address that question by asking, Why live on the edge... why teeter on some distant fringe?? To me it is frightening to even think of living near the edge... Why risk it? Why come in just under the line? Why graduate with low marks? Why? Why?

We see the connection in the Gematria of 945 with the words:

Vah Yi Chah Zayk - Hashem - Ehs - Layv - Pharaoh,

Vah Yi Chah Zayk {and He stiffened}
131 = Kuf =100 Zayin = 7 Ches = 8 Yud = 10 Vav = 6

26 = Hey = 5 Vav = 6 Hey = 5 Yud = 10

Ehs {from Aleph to Sav meaning "everything"}
401 = Sav = 400 Aleph = 1

Layv {heart}
32 =
Bas = 2 Lamid = 30

Pharaoh {King of Mitzriam}
355 = Hey = 5 Ayin = 70 Reish = 200 Pey = 80

945 = 131 + 26 + 401 + 32 + 355

So, holy reader, on the one hand we are to recount the great miracles that Hashem performed in punishing Mitzriam while delivering B'nei Yisroel. And on the other hand we are to remember the warning of living on the edge.. of living a non repentant life... of denying Hashem's existence... of pleading ignorance to who Hashem is! Dear one, now is the time to move closer to an observant life!!

I pray that each of us will be blessed with the desire to live an observant life and that we will be able to influence other Jews to move away from the assimilated edges towards Torah Judaism. May Hashem bless each of us!!

Best Wishes!

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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