Pesach - Gematria For First Day
Exodus 12:21 - 51 / Maftir Numbers 28:16-25

Jews Who Forget May...
Cast What Is Righteous From Their Livesves, G-d Forbid

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of the weekly parsha is dedicated in the loving memory of Naomi Channah, Mrs. Naomi Lipton Kravitz may she rest in peace, by her son, Daniel Kravitz, and family.

There was a country headed into a serious famine. Yet there was a very righteous man living in this country. This man's name was Yosief. He was kidnapped, shanghaied and sold into slavery. While in slavery he was falsely accused of misdeeds and imprisoned. He was in prison for many years. Even though he was in prison and all this evil had happened to him, he did not forget Hashem. He did not forget that he was a Jew. He had plenty of reason to be unhappy. He had plenty of reason to be bitter. He could have done what so many do... curse G-d for his series of problems, but he didn't. He could have forgotten who he was, but he didn't. He could have deserted his way of believing, but he didn't.

Hashem blessed him.

It was this prisoner that Hashem used to save Mitzriam and the surrounding countries. Many, many lives were saved from starvation. This man's relatives joined him in Mitzriam during the famine. They were also a very holy people. Hashem blessed them. They were fruitful! They increased abundantly! They had many children! They became exceedingly mighty! This happened within just several generations.

Now the residents of this land clearly recognized this people, B'nei Yisroel. They stood out from among the other people in the country. They were different. Their names were different! They dressed differently! They worshipped differently! Their business practices were honest! They did not intermarry! It was easy to pick out B'nei Yisroel from the other residents of Mitzriam.

The evil people of Mitzriam felt threatened by these very holy, dearly righteous Jews even though their country, Mitzriam, had prospered greatly because of them {B'nei Yisroel}. Why is it that people feel threatened by the righteous? What is it that causes people to feel uneasy?

Well, B'nei Yisroel was placed in captivity and horrible slavery for 116 years. Again during this time Mitzriam was greatly blessed. B'nei Yisroel built great massive cities for Mitzriam. Even though that was the situation, Mitzriam inflicted greater misery upon the righteous, upon B'nei Yisroel.

"And Yosief died, and all his brothers, and all that generation. And the people of Yisroel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and became exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them. And there rose up a new king over Mitzriam, who did not know Yosief. And he said to his people, 'Behold, the people of the B'nei Yisroel are more and mightier than we; Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it may come to pass, that, when there would be any war, they should join our enemies, and fight against us; and drive us out of the land.' They appointed taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were mortified because of the B'nei Yisroel." Exodus 1:6 - 12

It is difficult to understand. Why is it? When someone does good, sometimes he is rewarded with evil. This is what happened to B'nei Yisroel in Mitzriam and many times since, G-d forbid!! You help someone and they knife you in the back, G-d forbid! You lend a hand and they say bad things about you, G-d forbid!

Dear reader, holy reader, what can one expect from the unrighteous? That is what the unrighteous do, G-d forbid. Don't expect compassion from them. G-d did NOT give them the Torah! G-d did not command them to observe the Torah! G-d did not give them the Shabbos! G-d did not charge them to observe the Shabbos! G-d did not make them the light of the world! G-d did not deliver them from Mitzriam! G-d did not command them to remember! DON'T EXPECT THEM TO FULFILL OUR RESPONSIBILITIES, THE JEWISH RESPONSIBILITIES, IN THIS WORLD!!

The righteous are the conscience of the world and one's conscience can be very tormenting when one does wrong, when one is sinful, when one is evil, etc... Yet that does not change our task. That does not eliminate the responsibilities Hashem appointed us for!

In Pesach we observe the many times that Mitzriam mistreated B'nei Yisroel after all the good and after all the kindness that B'nei Yisroel had shown. B'nei Yisroel could not endure this torturous treatment any longer. Hashem sent Moshe to deliver His people but Pharaoh would not let them go. Pharaoh would not be kind! Pharaoh would not lessen the burden! Pharaoh afflicted B'nei Yisroel more, G-d forbid!

It was only after ten devastating plagues that Pharaoh said to Hah Tzah Dee Keem {the righteous}, "Koo Moo Tzoo Voo!" {"Set out! Get out!"} When Hah Tzah Dee Keem were forced out... ejected... pressed out... Mitzriam was left without blessing, without wealth and without Hah Tzah Dee Keem {the righteous}. What did they have? What was left without the righteous? They had an immoral, corrupt, devastated, bankrupt country with the longest funeral procession in history!

Was it worth it?

What is the point to all this?

We are to learn from this that we were a murdered people, an oppressed people and an abused people. We are to remember! WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE? That is the point!! AND we are commanded not to forget this part of the message!

How are we supposed to treat each other?

How are we supposed to treat our neighbor?

How are we supposed to treat non-Jews?

The Torah is saying you Jews are the appointed, the chosen. You, the descendants of Yisroel, are selected to be the righteous...

EVERY JEW IS RIGHTEOUS on one level or another. If we forget this, G-d forbid, then we may also forget what it feels like to be mistreated, and we may forget what it feels like to be abused, and we Jews may cast what is righteous from our lives, G-d forbid. Then our lives would be truly devastated and our world bankrupt, G-d forbid! That is why at Pesach we are to remember, and that is why we are to reconnect with what happened to us. We are to be the righteous example!

The Gematria for Koo Moo Tzoo Voo {"Set out! Get out!"} and Hah Tzah Dee Keem {"the righteous"} are both 249.

Wishing you the very best Kosher Pesach,

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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