Parshat Bo: Let My People Go

January 19, 2024
BBYO Weekly Parsha


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Let My People Go - 15 Shabbats Since October 7th

“Let my people go,” is a call that lives in infamy. Beyond its biblical origins, it served as the rallying cry against American slavery, South African apartheid, and the oppression of Soviet Jewry. Yet today, it takes on new meaning. 

On October 7th, Hamas terrorists stormed into Israeli settlements bordering Gaza and began brutally butchering, slaughtering, burning, raping, and beheading some 1200 Israeli men, women, children, elderly, soldiers, civilians, foreign workers, mothers, fathers, friends, babies, Jews, Christians, Arabs, and Muslims. The terrorist organization also took 230+ hostages, about 132 of whom remain in Gaza. Today, “let my people go” holds intense truth. 

Parashat Bo recounts Moses’s arduous effort to free the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Continuing with the eighth plague, G-d warns Pharoah through Moses, “Let My people go that they may worship Me. For if you refuse to let My people go, tomorrow I will bring locusts on your territory.” G-d’s ultimatum is evident and fair—release the Israelites from bondage and the suffering of Egyptians would quickly end. Yet from the first plague to the ninth plague, the great suffering of his people was not enough to sway Pharoah, so the Israelites remained in chains. Finally, Pharoah makes the decisive shift with the tenth plague, the death of the firstborn Egyptians. It takes the death of his people, specifically of his firstborn son, for Pharoah to release the Israelites. 

For the sake of the hostages, Israeli soldiers, and innocent Gazans I hope the leaders of Hamas can take a lesson from Parashat Bo—release those in bondage and the suffering will end. Yet, the Israeli government must also take a lesson from the Parasha—seek peace but until it is reached, use your power to save your people. 

As we enter the 15th week since October 7th, I pray it does not take 10 plagues worth of war to bring the hostages home. Until then, I will use my power and scream “let my people go.”

Shabbat Shalom,

Josh Danziger, Lonestar region

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