Category Archives: Bo

Calling God’s Bluff (Bo)

Calling God’s Bluff (Bo)

It is sometimes necessary to lie damnably in the interests of the nation. -Hilaire Belloc

There is a common misconception about what Moses requested from Pharaoh. We’ve heard the popular “Let my people go” refrain, implying that Moses was asking for complete freedom from slavery and permanent departure from Egypt. That is not accurate. Though freedom was the final intention, what Moses repeatedly asks from Pharaoh is much more limited and specific. He asks that Pharaoh let the people go on a three-day journey into the desert where they will worship God and celebrate.

At some point in the discussions, Pharaoh gives in and says, “ok, you can go to the desert to worship your God,” but he asks, “who is going?” Moses answers: “Everyone, men, women, elderly, and children.” Pharaoh’s response is “no way. Just the men can go.”

The Bechor Shor on Exodus 10:10 wonders as to what’s going on. Why does Pharaoh care who goes to worship? He answers that Pharaoh saw through Moses’ façade. He understood that they didn’t intend to just “worship”, but rather that they planned to completely escape. That’s why Pharaoh stubbornly refuses. In one sense he’s calling Moses’ bluff. “You want to go worship? Fine. You’re free to go, but you need to leave your women and children behind until you return.” Moses couldn’t accept the offer which is why he doubles down and insists that everybody needs to go.

Having God on his side didn’t hurt Moses either, so when subsequent plagues strike Egypt culminating in the devastating Death of the Firstborns, not only does Pharaoh finally agree to Moses’ terms, but he and the Egyptian people can’t get them out fast enough. The entire Jewish people are freed to go on the three-day journey to the desert to worship God. Only after that does Moses activate the next step of the plan, to take the Jewish people out of the Egyptian empire entirely.

May we see clearly through the facades in front of us.

Shabbat Shalom,



To Eitan Orbach and Tzivya Graff on their marriage. Mazal Tov!

Breaking Bad Habits (Bo)

Breaking Bad Habits (Bo)

Tell me what you like and I’ll tell you what you are. -John Ruskin

On the eve of the exodus of the Jewish people from the bondage of Egypt, on the night that would forever be known as the beginning of Pesach (Passover), the proto-nation of Israel is commanded by God to take a lamb (what would become the Pascual Lamb), slaughter it, serve it to their families and uniquely enough, smear the blood on their doorposts as a sign. God, recognizing the sign (or more likely the act of identification with the Jewish people and God’s command) would not kill the firstborns in those homes but would go on to kill the Egyptian firstborns in the tenth and final plague that He brought upon Egypt.

The Meshech Chochma on Exodus 12:21 connects this account of sacrifice and obedience to God to a much deeper significance as to how to tackle and control both our physical desires as well as our erroneous notions.

He goes on to quote an unusual line from the Talmud that reads as follows:

Rav said: The cry that one says to lead an ox is “hen hen.” The cry to lead a lion is “zeh zeh.” The cry to lead a camel is “da da.” The cry to laborers using ropes to pull a ship along a river is “heleni, hayya, hela, vehilook, hulya.” -Tractate Pesachim 112b

The Meshech Chochma explains that when one wants to lead an animal, or in our case wants to break an animalistic desire, what is needed is one line, one dictum to be repeated over and over. He suggests for example repeatedly saying the dictum from Chapter of our Fathers (Pirkei Avot 4:21): “Envy, lust and the desire for honor take a man out of the world.” Regular repetition is the best way to break our physical, animalistic habits and desires.

However, to change ones thoughts, notions and philosophies requires a more subtle approach. It cannot be altered by brute force of repetition. It requires a variety of arguments (as in the variety of words used for the laborers). It needs to be tackled by different angles until the combination of inputs succeeds in turning a person away from failed or mistaken ideas and paths and back to the ways of reason, of wisdom and good sense.

May we find both the direct strategies to break our negative desires and the more nuanced arguments to keep us on a straight intellectual path.

Shabbat Shalom,



To the important Holocaust memorials.

The Kabbalistic Body (Bo)

The Kabbalistic Body (Bo)

It is in moments of illness that we are compelled to recognize that we live not alone but chained to a creature of a different kingdom, whole worlds apart, who has no knowledge of us and by whom it is impossible to make ourselves understood: our body. -Marcel Proust

On the eve of the Israelite exodus from Egyptian slavery, the Torah interrupts the dramatic narrative to discuss the rituals of Pesach which will be kept for generations, including the Pesach sacrifice which would be offered thereafter in the Temple. The description is quite specific, including details which were unique to the Pesach in Egypt, as well as to those that are meant to be continued for generations. The Torah even goes so far as to describe the positioning of the body parts of the sacrifice.

The Berdichever chooses that description for an explanation of the deeper meaning of human body parts, and how the human body is in some fashion a mirror of God’s divine attributes. Following is his explanation of a Kabbalistic view of the body:

The legs represent the attribute of “Emuna” (faith), which itself can be distinguished by two different characteristics. The first characteristic of faith is the belief that God is the antecedent of everything in our reality, and that our reality was created and is constantly sustained by God’s will. The second aspect of faith, specifically for a Jew, is the belief that we are His people, that He is close to us, that He listens to our prayers and is able, ready and willing to fulfill our needs.

The reproductive organ represents the bond, the connection which we need to create with our own faith.

The torso represents “Tiferet,” the glory or the splendor that we need to pursue, for God to be pleased with us, proud of us, to thereby bring glory to God.

The arms represent “Ahava,” love, and “Yirah,” awe. The right arm is “Ahava,” the love we must have for God; the left is “Yirah,” our need to be in awe of God.

The head, the seat of the intellect, represents our need to explore and consider the greatness of God, the myriads of ministering angels at His beck and call who themselves serve God with tremendous love and awe.

When a person brings all his body parts to bear in serving God, in all its representations, he then gains humility, to the point of basically reducing the ego and annulling oneself by comprehending the true spiritual reality of our existence.

That, the Berdichever assures us, leads directly to happiness.

May our body parts work healthily and in concert to fulfill divine goals, and indeed, lead us to greater happiness.

Shabbat Shalom,



To Chaya and Jason Kanner on their amazing hospitality.


Self-inflicted Escalating Punishments (Bo)

Self-inflicted Escalating Punishments

Every guilty person is his own hangman. -Seneca the Elder

                                                                     John Martin, The Seventh Plague, 1823

God pours his wrath over the people of Egypt. Plagues of blood, frogs, lice, wild animals, boils, hail, locust and more devastate the mightiest empire on the planet for refusing to let the People of Israel go. Pharaoh stands firm against this onslaught, consistently denying the Hebrew nation its freedom. He insists on keeping them enslaved, not allowing them their requested three-day journey to worship God.

In the end, it is Pharaoh’s stubbornness (which at some point may have been augmented by God) that dooms Egypt. Had he let the Jews go at the first request, he and his country would have been spared from all the pain, death and destruction.

Rabbeinu Bechaye on Exodus 12:33 (Bo) explains that Pharaoh’s thick-headedness, his denial of God and his refusal to send the Jews as requested were reciprocated in the harshest terms in a way that he would irrefutably acknowledge God, by being on the receiving end of the plagues, and he would ultimately be forced to send the Jews out of Egypt.

Rabbeinu Bechaye gives an example of a minister who asked his servant to buy him some fish; the servant went and bought him a putrid piece of fish. The minister, as punishment, gives the servant three options:  “eat the fish yourself, get one hundred lashes, or pay one hundred pieces.” The servant says: “I’ll eat the fish,” but halfway through it he says, “I can’t eat anymore, I’d rather get the lashes.” They lash him, but halfway through he says, “I can’t handle it, I’d rather pay the one hundred pieces.” The servant ended up inflicting on himself all three punishments.

So to it was with Pharaoh and the Egyptians. They were lashed with all the plagues, they sent the Jews out, and they also sent them with gold and riches.

May today’s stubborn enemies of Israel receive their comeuppance speedily and in our days.

Shabbat Shalom,



To Judge Mchaim Lieberman on his 50th birthday. May he continue to mete out justice when he can.

Unexpected Admiration

Unexpected Admiration 

To love is to admire with the heart; to admire is to love with the mind. -Theophile Gautier


The Exodus narrative is reaching the climax of the Plagues. The Egyptians suffer months of strange, unusual and miraculous attacks by the Hebrew God and His agents, Moses and Aaron. Blood, frogs, lice, wild beasts, pestilence, boils and hail afflict the Egyptians. While painful and highly disruptive, they can recover, life can continue.

That is until the coup de grâce, the plague of locust. The locust invasion is so massive, that it blots out the sky. They consume every grain, every vegetable, every fruit. The entire agricultural production, the entire industry, the entire economy of the mighty Egyptian empire is reduced to nothing. Their situation appears hopeless. Then they are hit with the plague of Darkness. The darkness is so thick, so pervasive, so petrifying, that the text testifies that the Egyptians did not move, did not physically budge their bodies the entire three days that they were subject to the plague.

After these divinely orchestrated attacks for the purpose of freeing the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, the reaction of the Egyptians is nothing less than unexpected: they admire Moses and the Israelites.

Rabbi Hirsch explains on Exodus 10:2 that the Egyptians realized after the plague of darkness that the Israelites had not suffered the blindness as they had. The Hebrews were able to move around unimpeded for three days, while the Egyptians remained unmoving the entire time. Every Egyptian house was open, every possession was revealed for the taking. Yet the Egyptians found nothing missing. The Israelites had not taken advantage of their master’s vulnerability. Nothing had been taken in what otherwise would have been a thieves dream – a completely accessible target with no chance of being identified or caught.

Rabbi Hirsch elaborates:

“For three days their oppressors, blinded and rooted to the spot by darkness, had been completely at their mercy. For three days all the possessions of the Egyptians had lain unprotected in their homes. But no Jew took advantage of this opportunity for revenge; no Jew touched an Egyptian or even the least of their possessions. It was at this moment, when sight was restored to the Egyptians and they found all their possessions untouched where they had left them, that God caused the Egyptians to comprehend the moral greatness of this people. This realization at last overcame the antipathy the Egyptians had felt for the Hebrews, and, even more than all the miracles he had performed, the moral greatness of his people made also Moses, as a man, great in the eyes of the Egyptians.”

As a response to this admiration, when the people of Israel, as per God’s request, ask to borrow the possessions of the Egyptians, without any qualm, the Egyptians give them gold, silver, utensils, garments. In the divine calculation, it is part of a long overdue compensation for the harsh slavery the Hebrew nation suffered. And even after the final plague, the Death of the Firstborns, when Pharaoh and the entire Egyptian populace is clamoring for the Israelites to leave, yet again the text mentions both the Egyptian admiration for Moses and the Israelites and their giving them gold, silver and garments as they depart.

Our enemies may yet learn to admire us.

Shabbat Shalom,



To the complete and speedy recovery of Shlomo Eliezer ben Ita.

The Secret of Ten


 We have what we seek. It is there all the time, and if we give it time it will make itself known to us. -Thomas Merton


When God creates the world, He doesn’t do so in one fell sweep. It’s a process. He takes His time. The narrative of Genesis has God creating our world via ten different utterances. Ten divine statements are what brought everything into being.

The Sfat Emet in 5631 (1871) explains there is a deep and intrinsic connection between the Ten Utterances of Creation, The Ten Plagues of Egypt and The Ten Commandments of Mt. Sinai.

The Ten Utterances created the world. The Ten Plagues afflicted the world, but in some metaphysical way the affliction refined the Ten Utterances and revealed the Ten Commandments that illuminated the world. Creation was completed only when the revelation of the Torah on Mount Sinai took place and the powerful Ten Commandments were given.

There is an essential connection between the creation of the world, the Exodus from Egypt and the Revelation of Sinai. The confluence of Ten hints at that.

May we appreciate the confluences in our lives.

Shabbat Shalom,



To the convergence of many friends and family for a wonderful celebration.









Circular Assistance

First posted on The Times of Israel at:

Baal Haturim Exodus: Bo

Circular Assistance

In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us. -Flora Edwards

According to the Midrash (old post-biblical accounts and stories of biblical events and personalities), Jethro, future father-in-law of Moses, was one of Pharaoh’s counselors. The Midrash states that Jethro argued for the benevolent treatment of the Jews at the time when Pharaoh ordered the drowning of all male babies. When Jethro saw his advice ignored and noticed the growing anti-Jewish climate, he escapes from Egypt and resettles in neighboring Midian.

Years later, Moses flees Egypt, after Pharaoh seeks to kill him for the murder of an Egyptian. Moses ends up in Midian, meets Jethro’s daughters and is invited to eat in the home of Jethro. The Baal Haturim on Exodus 10:12 states that in the merit of having fed Moses, Jethro’s crops were spared from the effects of the plague of locust (I guess he still owned some land in Egypt). He furthermore explains that even an evil person will merit protection because of feeding the righteous. What goes around comes around.

May we always be the vehicle for blessings and protection.

Shabbat Shalom,



To all those who assisted our family during our stay in Montevideo. May you be blessed many times over.





La prima del Faraón

ficción bíblica: Éxodo Bo

Traducido del inglés y editado por Caro Cynovich

La prima del Faraón

Lo odio, Pirit pensó mientras yacía en la cama. Nos va a destruir.

Pirit daba vueltas. No había ninguna posibilidad de que pudiera relajarse. Ella temía la oscuridad no cesaría, al igual que sucedió con la última plaga. Aún se encontraba traumatizada por aquella eterna y paralizante noche. Solía maldecir al sol por ser impredecible, pero ahora oraba por su regreso.

El primo Faraón condenó Egipto, Pirit reflexionaba. Y Moisés siempre cumplió con su palabra.

“Los primogénitos morirán”, dijo Moisés con su voz profunda y autoritaria. Al recibir ese anuncio sintió un gran escalofrío como si su primogénito, Rabret, hubiese muerto en el acto.

Oh, dulce Rabret, Pirit gimió para sus adentros. Solo tiene quince años. Recién entrando en la adultez. Pequeñas lágrimas corrieron por el rostro de Pirit ante la idea de perderlo.

Hubo un silencio tenso durante toda la noche en Egipto, como si todo el país estuviera expectante conteniendo la respiración. La última declaración de Moisés se habían expandido como la pólvora. La décima plaga promete ser la peor; afectaría a todos los hogares. Tanto los pobres como los ricos sufrirán. La mente de Pirit se revolvía inquieta. Tan solo aquellos que no tienen hijos se ahorrarán el dolor de perder uno.

¡Aún así el Faraón se rehúsa a dejar ir a los israelitas! Pirit gritó en su cabeza. ¡Está loco! Pero, ¿qué podemos hacer?

Entonces empezó. Pirit escuchó un suave gemido desde lejos. Se quedó en la cama intentando ignorarlo con la esperanza de que se iría. Entonces el gemido se hizo más fuerte – y más cercano. En realidad no era un gemido, era un grito de amargura, dolor y angustia. Se iba intensificando y haciéndose más fuerte. Pirit pensó que el grito era parecía un ser vivo, creciendo en fuerza, forma y poder. Antes de darse cuenta, el grito se volvió abrumador. Estaba en todas partes. Parecía como si cada punto de la tela que era Egipto estuviera desgarrándose de dolor. Pirit no pudo contenerse por más tiempo.

Aflojó sus ojos cerrados y se levantó de su cama. Se acercó, como si fuera a su propia ejecución, a la habitación de Rabret. La habitación estaba anormalmente tranquila en medio de los gritos comunales de Egipto. Tal vez solo está durmiendo pacíficamente, Pirit oró. Pero no había ningún movimiento. No se escuchaba ninguna respiración. Ningún suave subir y bajar del cuerpo de su hijo. Ningún signo externo de vida. Muy suavemente, Pirit tocó el hombro de Rabret. Hacía frío en medio de la cálida noche egipcia.

—Rabret —Pirit lo sacudió—. Por favor, despierta, mi amor.

Pero no hubo respuesta. Perdiendo toda esperanza, Pirit tiró del hombro de Rabret para ver su rostro.

Dio un paso atrás, tomándose la cara con las manos, mientras chorros de lágrimas gruesas rodaban por sus mejillas. El rostro de Rabret estaba congelado, muerto, en una mueca de dolor. La única forma de interpretarlo era que su vida había sido interrumpida con urgencia, fuerza y ​​con violencia. Él ahora era una cáscara vacía.

Pirit volvió corriendo a abrazar a su hijo sin vida. Su primogénito. Su Rabret .

—¡No! No mi dulce Rabret. ¡Oh, no!

Comenzó a llorar. Un llanto desconsolado que se unió a las voces del resto de Egipto en una sinfonía discordante de dolor.


Esta locura ha ido lo suficientemente lejos. No me importa si esto es traición o blasfemia, Pirit pensó mientras daba grandes pasos en su camino hacia el palacio de su primo. No estaba sola. Otros nobles, miembros de la realeza y asesores se dirigían, con los ojos llorosos, a la sala de audiencias del Faraón.

—Mi hijo. Mi heredero —Faraón estaba murmurando, sosteniendo el cetro del príncipe en sus manos.

Faraón estaba sentado, encorvado en su trono, rodeado de una creciente audiencia enfurecida. Pirit abrió paso entre el grupo y, sin previo aviso o introducción, se dirigió a Faraón.

—¿Cuántos niños más necesitamos sacrificar? —Pirit declaró—. ¿Cuántos más?

—¿Qué podemos hacer ? —Faraón le preguntó a nadie en particular.

—¡Deja ir a los israelitas! —Pirit gritó.

—Eso es lo que quieren —dijo Faraón débilmente, sin dejar de mirar el cetro del muchacho—. Pero es demasiado tarde ahora. Todo está perdido.

Pirit acercó al trono, sin haber sido invitada, bajo los gritos ahogados de asombro de los presentes.

—Primo —Pirit se dirigió al Faraón—. Todo se perderá si no haces nada. Déjalos ir, como deberías haber hecho hace tiempo. ¿Cuánto más debe pagar Egipto por su esclavitud? ¿Quién sabe lo que nos deparará la próxima plaga? Por favor, primo, por el bien de mis otros hijos, de sus otros hijos – por lo que aún queda de Egipto. Debes dejarlos en libertad – ahora. ¡Escucha los gritos! ¡Son cada vez más fuertes!

—Me siento como una marioneta en las manos del Dios hebreo —el Faraón comenzó apretando los dientes— Cada vez que he pensado en liberarlos siento un impulso de mantenerlos esclavizados.

—Entonces por Ra. No, no por Ra —Pirit miró a la gran estatua de su dios, sus labios rizados en una mueca—. Por el dios hebreo, que ha demostrado ser todopoderoso y ha reducido a Ra a una escultura sin sentido. ¡Juro por el dios hebreo! —Pirit se arrodilló y agarró firmemente ambos tobillos del Faraón, en medio de las exclamaciones de la audiencia—. No te dejaré ir hasta que liberes a los israelitas.

Faraón miró a su prima, de repente consciente de su audacia y atrevimiento en violar las reglas respecto a una persona santa como él. Reconoció el gesto antiguo que estaba llevando a cabo Pirit. No dejar ir al proveedor era el pedido físico de un suplicante hasta que su deseo fuera concedido, o hasta que lo mataran por su conducta inapropiada.

Un murmullo comenzó en la sala de audiencias con el telón de fondo de los lamentos cada vez más fuerte.

—Pirit tiene razón —el Faraón escuchó—. Tiene que dejar ir a los hebreos.

Otra voz añadió:  —Estamos perdidos.

—Faraón nos ha condenado.

—¿Qué podemos hacer?

—Tiene que dejar ir a los hebreos.

—Deja ir a los hebreos.

—Sí. Déjalos ir

—¡Deja ir a los hebreos! —dijo alguien como un canto, como un lamento.

—Deja ir a los hebreos —el canto fue acogido.

—¡Deja ir a los hebreos! —dijo el cuarto entero.

—¡Deja ir a los hebreos! —resonó por todo el palacio .


Faraón salió corriendo de sus aposentos con el cetro del Príncipe todavía en la mano, seguido por una extensa comitiva encabezada por Pirit.

Faraón se dirigió hacia el barrio hebreo de su ciudad. Caminó tambaleándose, buscando de puerta en puerta de entrada para detectar signos de la casa de Moisés o Aarón.

—¿Dónde está Moisés? —clamó el Faraón—. ¿Dónde está Aarón?

Pero no hubo respuesta.

—Hebreos —Faraón llamó—. ¡Por favor, ayúdenme! ¿Dónde están Moisés y Aarón?

Sin aliento, apoyado en el marco de la puerta de un hogar hebreo, el Faraón se sorprendió al sentir una sustancia pegajosa en las manos. Se miró las manos. Para su horror, estaba llena de sangre.

—¡Moisés! ¡Aarón! —Faraón gritó por encima del zumbido de los lamentos, que era notoriamente más tranquilo en el barrio hebreo.

—¡Lo siento! ¡Yo estaba equivocado! —continuó Faraón—. ¡Tú y tu gente pueden irse! ¡Por favor! ¡Vayan!

—Estoy aquí, Faraón —Moisés apareció en una de las puertas. Aarón estaba a su lado y que fueron seguidos por otros ancianos hebreos.

—Oh Moisés —el Faraón se puso de rodillas. El resto de la comitiva siguió su ejemplo—.Vayan, vayan. ¡Por favor! Me equivoqué. Vayan. Tomen todo lo que quieran tomar. Las mujeres, los niños, los animales – todos los animales. Tomen todos y salgan rápidamente. Ahora. Por favor, vayan. Vayan antes que nos destruyan a todos.

Moisés dirigió a los ancianos hebreos y les indicó que sigan adelante y den la palabra de partir. Todos ellos estaban vestidos para el viaje, llevando mochilas y bolsas totalmente cargadas, como si hubieran estado esperando el momento de ser liberados.

Sin decir una palabra, Moisés se volvió para irse.

—Moisés, mi Señor —Pirit rogó—. ¿Es este el final? ¿Será este fin a las muertes y a la destrucción en Egipto?

Moisés miró Pirit con cara triste y solemne.

—Eso dependerá de ustedes —los señaló a todos—, de ustedes y la voluntad del Faraón —lo señaló.

Pirit se estremeció. Si depende de nosotros y del Faraón, entonces realmente estamos condenados.

Y sin decir nada más, Moisés dio la espalda a los egipcios para nunca más volver a ver su lugar de nacimiento, la tierra de los opresores de los hebreos.

Perros uruguayos santos

Netziv Éxodo: Bo

Perros uruguayos santos

Un perro ladra cuando se ataca a su amo. Yo sería un cobarde si me di cuenta de que la verdad de Dios es atacado y aún permanecería en silencio.” John Calvin

Hay una gran cantidad de perros en Uruguay. No sé cómo se podría determinar las estadísticas, pero me atrevería a decir que Uruguay tiene uno de los mayores números de perros por habitante en el mundo. La alta tasa de propiedad de perros también puede contribuir a la naturaleza tolerante de los uruguayos.

El Talmud tiene una variedad de cosas que decir acerca de los perros, pero uno que el Netziv en Éxodo 11:07 destaca es que los perros son espiritualmente sensible. En el aviso de la próxima plaga de los primogénitos, Moisés dice enigmáticamente:

Y para todos los hijos de Israel, ningún perro debe ir abriendo su lengua, desde el hombre hasta la bestia, para que usted debe saber que Dios distingue entre Egipto e Israel.”

El Netziv explica que los perros tienen la capacidad natural de diferenciar entre las buenas personas y gente malvada. Ellos ladran cuando se enfrentan con el mal. Había gente inmoral de Israel que Dios salvó durante las plagas los cuales los perros deberían haber ladrado. Sin embargo, por respeto a la voluntad de Dios para la diferenciación nacional entre Judios y los egipcios, los perros se mantuvieron en silencio durante el evento histórico del Éxodo y no señalaron los Judios díscolos.

Los perros pueden ser el mejor amigo del hombre, sino que también han demostrado ser criados respetuosos de Dios. Hay un par de cosas que podemos aprender de ellos.

Shabat Shalom,



A perros uruguayos y sus seres humanos. Por favor, recuerde a sus cuidadores para limpiar sus líos.

Holy Uruguayan Dogs

First posted on The Times of Israel at:

Netziv Exodus: Bo

Holy Uruguayan Dogs

“A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.” -John Calvin

There are a lot of dogs in Uruguay. I don’t know how one would determine the statistics, but I would venture to guess that Uruguay has one of the highest number of dogs per capita in the world. The high rate of dog ownership may also contribute to the general easygoing nature of Uruguayans.

The Talmud has a variety of things to say about dogs, but one that the Netziv on Exodus 11:7 highlights are that dogs are spiritually sensitive. In the warning of the upcoming Plague of the Firstborns, Moses states quizzically:

“And for all the Children of Israel, no dog shall whet its tongue, from man to beast, in order that you should know that God differentiates between Egypt and Israel.”

The Netziv explains that dogs have the natural ability to differentiate between good people and wicked people. They will bark when confronted with evil. There were immoral people from Israel that God spared during the plagues whom the dogs should have barked at. However, out of respect for God’s desire for the national differentiation between Jews and Egyptians, the dogs remained quiet during the historic event of the Exodus and didn’t point out the wayward Jews.

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but they have also proven to be respectful servants of God. There’s a thing or two that we can learn from them.

Shabbat Shalom,



To Uruguayan dogs and your humans. Please remind your caretakers to clean up your messes.