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		                                    Thinking Torah Blog		                                </span>

01/26/2023 05:00:00 PM


Rabbi Daniel K. Alter

Moses and Aaron confront Pharaoh and his advisors many times throughout the Exodus narrative, demanding that Pharaoh release the Israelites from their captivity. At the start of parshat Bo, after yet another plague, Pharaoh offers what may be generously called a compromise. Pharaoh offers to allow “the notables of Israel” to leave. Moses refuses, demanding: “We will all go, our young and our old, our sons and our daughters, our flocks and our herds,” (Exodus 10:9) for everyone must participate together.
Moses advocates for community. Today we know that community demands inclusion and belonging. These are not static values. They require continued thinking and continued action to ensure we live up to their ideals. Be it Shabbat worship, lifelong education, holiday celebrations, lifecycle experiences, social action, or any other facet of Jewish life, our faith expects us to recognize, validate, appreciate, and enable each and every member.
Moses’ declaration of community utilizes a “merism,” a figure of speech juxtaposing two extremes to convey the whole. The young and the old, he says, sons and daughters, he says, and everyone in between. As we read in Mishkan Tefillah:
     Let us continue to work for the day
     when the nations will be one and at peace.
     Then shall we rejoice as Israel did,
     singing on the shores of the Sea:

Tue, December 5 2023 22 Kislev 5784