The first commandment for Israel as people is the counting of Rosh Chodesh, new moon. The Jewish calendar is introduced to the Jewish people. This calendar is based on the phases of the moon and regulated by the position of the sun. Regulation and discipline is what Israel needed and needs and as a matter of fact all people do need time. You could say that life can be organized by deadlines. The gods of Egypt were replaced by the G-d of Israel, Adonai. The Egyptian Sunday as the day of rest and worshipping the sun god was replaced by the Jewish Shabbat as the day of serving the G-d of the Jews of Israel. Time came into the hands of Adonai our Lord instead of the astrological gods in stars and planets as seen in horoscopic lists.

As Israel strayed away from Adonai at times the result was captivity and slavery in the hands of our enemies, Assyrians and Babylonians. It was in the doomed land of Babylon that we adopted Babylonian names of the biblical months. These names we still use, not to elevate the Babylonian gods like Nimrod or Tammuz who liked to sit on his mother’s lap a lot which we still recognize in the so-called Mary statues. We use these names in order to remind ourselves of the bad situation we got and get ourselves into when we disobey Adonai. In fact it is a warning and a danger sign to help us staying away from disobedience and disbelief, from slander (bitchcraft) and manipulation (witchcraft), as we still see practiced by believers unfortunately.

Pesach is introduced in this Parashat Bo. Pesach is a typical Jewish celebration of our redemption from demonic worship and slavery. Unless they insist non-Jews are not allowed to celebrate Pesach (read Shemot, Exodus 12:48), leave alone to celebrate the feast of Nimrod (Tammuz) and Ishtar, called Easter. But non-Jews are encouraged to participate in this Jewish celebration, if no one else by one of the authors of the New Testament, Shaul (Paul) when he writes: “So let us celebrate the feast [of Pesach], not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (I Corinthians 5:8). But in Shemot (Exodus) the non-Jews males are warned to celebrate Pesach only if they are circumcised.

Pesach and Parashat Bo is about deliverance and freedom. Deliverance from slavery and addiction to alcohol, cigarettes and sin in order not to be a fool. And freedom to enjoy life to the full. Adonai is a loving father, if I may use this biblical anthropomorphism. He wants us healed. He wants us back in His world, which was ours when we were in Gan Eden (Paradise). Now it has become the world to come. Bo, come into the world of the future, the world of obedience, servitude and happiness.

Shabbat shalom,
Lion S. Erwteman, Rosh Kehillah of Beth Yeshua,
Amsterdam, Holland