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Part 1
TO READ BEFORE
YOU BEGIN

In french

- A Beth Hamidrach on the web!
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- Beginners in Torah


Part 2 : TORAH,
THE CENTER OF THIS WEB SITE

- All 54 parashiot
Commentaries by Rav Yehoshua Rahamim Dufour based on the books of our Sages

- Song of Songs
How to successfully develop from the stage of nitsan
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Part 3
THE TALMUD

16 basic classes on the Talmud
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Part 4
SHABBAT

Part 5
FETES JUIVES

- Had gadya

In french

Part 6
PRIERES

Part 7
THE JEWISH LAW

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OUR SAGES

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JEWISH CALENDAR

Part 10
PERSONAL DEVELOPPEMENT AND JEWISH LIFE

- New year of beauty
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Part 11
ISRAEL, THE LAND
AND THE PEOPLE

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Parasha No. 15
Bo: “Go in”

Shemot (Exodus) 10, 1 - 13, 7


Plan
1. The first mitzva given in Egypt
2. The peshat (literal meaning) and the inner meaning
3. The link between liberation and the months of the year
4. The linguistic meaning
5. Global renewal
6. The meaning of hodesh
7. The prototype of renewal: the relationship between a man and a woman
8. Defining the month visually
9. Learning from nature
10. A lesson for men-women relationships
11. The art of being attentive
12. Being inattentive or reflective
13. Being a point of reflection for the other person
14. What nature teaches us about God's relationship with man
15. Luminous expansion
16. The need for intimacy
17. Nidda
18. Not just a theory
19. Why every month?
20. The differences between the sexes: men's limitations
21. The differences between the sexes: women's richness
22. The differences between the sexes: equality through love
23. The meaning of (temporary) privation
24. Israel, the symbol of woman and wife in the world
25. And in our people?
26. Exercise in intergration
27. Important references
28. Reading: Vocabulary

How to re-create and renew
the months of the year
and relationships between
husbands and wives


Parasha Bo continues with the last 3 plagues which lead to the liberation of the children of Israel, sets out the injunctions for the celebration of the festival of Pesah, and describes the first wanderings of the people. This is when the 9 positive mitzvot (mitzvot ase) and the 11 negative mitzvot (mitzvot lo taase) are given.

The first mitzva given in Egypt

The first mitzva of this parasha is only the 4th one since the beginning of the Torah. In Shemot 12, 2, the mitzva says: "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you."
Hahodesh haze lakhem rosh hodashim, rishon hu lehodesh hashana.


The peshat (literal meaning) and the inner meaning

The Shla notes that the literal meaning (peshat) of this mitzva is a commandment to fix the dates of the months and years, so that the festivals fall at the time they are due, i.e. Pesah in Spring and Succot at harvest time.

The Shla also indicates that the inner meaning is much broader, for this verse and mitzva refer to the relationship between the moon and the sun, which links to the fact that
--- Adam harishon, Adam, the first man, had a double head with two faces,
--- the moon only gets its light from the sun,
--- the renewal of the month takes place when the moon is nearest to the sun.

He invites readers to refer to his commentary which is included in Tractate Pesah, for it will "fulfill the desires of one's heart, michelot halev."

If you reflect on these points you will see that they have a lot of meaning.

The link between liberation and the months of the year

In terms of liberation, the Torah could have chosen to speak of any other value or concept than the fixation of the beginning of the month: prayer, worship, morality, ritual, sanctuary, etc. And, it should be note, it speaks only of what is a month and how it should be fixed.

The linguistic meaning

At the peshat level, what is called in other languages "month, mois, menso…." has a totally different name in Hebrew: "hodesh, renewal." If the Hebrew chooses this meaning for "month," it is because "renewal" is considered as
--- a characteristic of the whole of the physical and human world,
--- an absolute necessity for nature and for humankind,
--- the essential element in God's plan.

Global renewal

Rabbenu Behya said about this verse, based on the Rambam's commentary on Bereshit 1, 1, that
hidush haolam hu ikar haemuna
"the renewal of the world is the essence of faith and trust."

" Thus, Jews live in a world which is created; they do not only live in nature, or in a world that has already been made, they live in a process of "creation," of constant renewal.
" A dysfunction which takes place in one area (e.g. an injustice), affects the entire functioning of the world; in modern terms this is a holistic, gestalt, concept.
" The renewal of the process of creation applies simultaneously to man, to nature, to relationships, and to politics.
" It is the actions of man which cause the improvement or deterioration of all nature.

In view of all this, we can now understand why the Hebrew designates as hodesh, "renewal" a process which other cultures call "month" and which can appear to be a purely "cyclical" process.

The message of hodesh

Shemot 12, 2, speaks of the new month and tells us that it must be "the beginning of all beginnings." This means that we are commanded to be attentive to this phenomenon of nature in order to enable a total renewal of ourselves and our normal habit of counting and evaluating.

We shall therefore look closely at this great phenomenon in order to understand better what type of "change" is involved.

The prototype of renewal: the relationship between husbands and wives

The Sages went much further:

" The Sages interpreted the above as referring to the relationship between husbands and wives, and thus also to the relationship between Hakadosh Barukh Hu and Israel; as Rabbenu Bahya comments on this verse (hashekhina she hi koah halevana, the shekhina which is the power of the moon). This goes back to the first verse of the Torah: the creation is the history of the creation of man and woman, whose relationship is symbolized in the pairing of the heavens with the earth.
" The slowing down, blockages, failures in the positive process of creation (bonding, help, complementarity, love, fertility, face to face relationships or relationships from afar) have all the characteristics of the relationship between husbands and wives.
" Understanding what the Torah teaches in this concept of hodesh (month-renewal) in the example of nature, is to understand the necessary condition, the starter for the entire process of renewal of humanity. This is why it is said that "this month shall be unto you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you."

This is the basis and condition for the process of renewal which will have to be constantly renewed, and expanded with the beginning of each new month.

Defining the "month" visually

The Shla, basing himself on the discussions between the Schools of Shammai and Hillel and the decisions of the Sages in the Talmud (Tractate Rosh Hashana, pages 24-25), notes that the fixation of the new month (likboa itim u zemanim) was always determined by astonomical calculations, for the sky could be covered in the land of Israel, or in the desert because of clouds (anan) during the day and because of the column of fire (amud haesh) at night, thus impeding visual observation.

Nonetheless, visual observation remains an essential part of the pedagogic process, for it requires us to be attentive and observe something closely in order to understand what is happening. We must therefore be attentive to what is happening visually in this phase of the beginning of the month, in order not to make mistakes in the teaching we wish to transmit. Let's begin our observation.

Learning from nature

" After the period when the light of the moon diminishes, at the end of the month, there is the phenomenon of the molad (the birth of the moon):
" The moon disappears
" The moon re-emerges in a delicate crescent
" The important point is that all this takes place at the moment of greatest proximity between the moon and the sun.

A lesson for husbands and wives

The same holds true for husbands and wives. When they undergo a period of separation or conflict (or the period of nidda, say the Sages), a deep relationship can only be built again through a process of mutual giving and emotional proximity, which enables each partner to perceive the inner depths of the other.

The art of intimacy

The art of intimacy requires sensitivity, presence, time, observation, feeling, listening to nuances, to what the other is trying to say and feel, legitimizing it and trusting in this emergence of something new in one's partner. This means being able to see what is slowly and imperceptibly emerging and developing, just like the "doe of the dawn."

This is for all time, as God did unto the house of Jacob: "And even to your old age I am he, and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made and I will bear, even I will carry and will deliver you" (Isaiah 46, 4).

It is this art which is taught in the verse: ha hodesh haze lakhem, this renewal of the month for you.

Rabbenu Bahya adds: for you, that you will count it, lakhem hu she tiyu monim bo.

Without this, true emergence and growth cannot develop, to lead slowly and then totally to joy and happiness.

Being inattentive or reflective

It is this proximity and mutual sensitivity that enables the light of another person to emerge.

This light is relational.

And this light, moreover, does not come from ourselves for the moon can only illuminate through the reverberation of the light of the sun.

If the sun sends its light through infinite space and it is not absorbed, what is the use? The masculine-sun is all radiance, and has no reflection one could say, and it is only through the effect it (man) has on others, on the moon (woman) that it discovers who it is, by seeing its reflection in the mirror that is placed before it, if it is light or darkness, if it is exploding, burning, destroying or if it is giving life and happiness.

This is based on what Rabbenu Bahya said:
The moon is the prototype of woman in her creativity in this world
halevana dugmat haisha bayetzira hatahtona

A man who is not attentive and sensitive towards a woman, is like a sun without reflection and without self-knowledge: for self-knowledge comes from the reflection one receives from the other, just as with the molad at the beginning of the month.

Being a point of reflection for the other person

There can be no renewal or beginning (hodesh, renewal-month) unless there is proximity, face to face encounter, expression of what one sees and feels, just like the witnesses who came testify what they had seen of the new moon and were interrogated about it.

Being sensitive to the other is not a quick, superficial thing ("I saw what you did, I heard and understood what you said"): it is:

being with someone, listening for a long time, without criticism, but with sensitivity, warmth, and absolute acceptance.

Everything that one discovers can then be expressed and transmitted back to the other person, in many appreciative ways.

Just like the moon, if this does not take place, then the process of "creation" begun by the Creator cannot progress. The importance of harmony between husbands and wives is so important that the Creator set before us a giant screen and permanent reminder in the monthly relationship between the moon and the sun who illuminate each other.

What nature teaches us about God's relationship with man

The Creator organized nature in such a way (the pairing of the heavens and the earth, the moon and the sun) that we would understand His relationship with us. The texts describe the conjugal love of God for Israel which is present in all the Torah and is condensed in Song of Songs 6, 10:
mi zot hanishkafa kemo shahar, yafa halevana, bara kahama
"Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun?"

and in Isaiah 54, 5 which teaches man how to emulate the Creator's loving attitude:
ki voalaikhe osaikh
"For thy Maker is thine husband."

Reflect on these verses in relation to the moon and to yourself. You will now understand

" the meaning of the name "Modia" in which Hashem makes himself known through the Torah (the Torah scroll on the logo);
" and through nature (the big round circle on the main page);
" the person who knows how to open into the inner world (click on the image), will discover light and the verses of a loving relationship.

Light extended

This loving relationship is an overflowing process, which creates not only pleasure and happiness but also fertility, an end to humiliation, shame, abuse, sadness, widowhood, as is stated in Isaiah 54, 1-4 in relation to the sterile or abandoned woman (read these verses). This is so much so, that the blessing of the moon is made only at the end of Shabbat: after the great spirituality between husband and wife, the joy and beauty of the Shabbat home, clothes and utensils, one rises on one's toes toward the moon (see Rabbenu Bahya on Shemot 12, 2).

The need for intimacy

In order to fully grasp the importance of all this, it is said that when the Sages had to deliberate on any change that had to be made in the calendar, such as adding months, they did this in secret (sod haibur).

The same is so in human relationships: it is important to create a ritual and an intimate space for the expression of love and attention.

Nidda

The same function is found in the period of nidda, after which a husband and wife renew their relationship, on condition that this is done with the same sensitivity and intention, kavana.

The precise details which are found in halakha aim to maintain and preserve the quality of attentiveness in a relationship and in the creative process. The literal meaning of halakha is "walking" and the Sages noted that its inner strength comes from the potential found in its letters which, when re-arranged, mean hakala, "the bride."

As with women's nidda, the variability of the months in the Hebrew calendar (there are 5 months of 29 days, 5 of 30 days, and 2 - Kislev and Mareshvan - which are sometimes 30 or 29 days, or sometimes one is 30 and the other 29) require constant attention to phases of renewal.

Not just a theory

This is not just a general theory: the verse says "ha hodesh haze, this renewal."

We see in regard to David in Chapter 20 of I Samuel:
--- this is not an important manifestation that takes place in the sky or in the home, and which one hardly pays attention to, like a television set that always on but rarely watched,
--- this is a renewal, the small light of the moon that reappears in a tiny crescent.

This must be done with dignity and sensitivity, blessing the moon, and relating all this to the creator and to his love for us as is written in the Song of Songs.
It is this intimacy which is present when Hashem says Ani Hashem, I Hashem (at the beginning of Va-ayra, Shemot 6, 2) and takes his people out of Egypt.

Why each month?

It is important that this phenomenon of nature take place every month because man is so superficial, so prone to a fast, routine way of life, that he needs this constant reminder in order to feel the delicate light that unites him with his fellow men and which is called: attention, sensitivity, love. The Torah teaches and praises these qualities: "Hear O Israel…"

Why then is the Song of Songs placed at the center of the Tanakh? And why does the Torah begin with the creation of a pair of entities (the heavens and the earth).

The differences between the sexes: men's limitations

The Shla stresses that women know better than men how to pay attention to the renewal of the moon and of the month. Remember that it is at the very moment when the sun, the symbol of masculinity, becomes obscure that the light of the moon is renewed, and this teaches us something important.

Man must learn to let go what seems natural and normal to him (his traditional social role, way of speech, political drive, competitive spirit which is often a form of infantile rivalry) in order to make room for women to appear.
Man must learn to be sensitive and understand the role of women.

The differences between the sexes: women's richness

The Creator teaches us another important point in this creative process: it takes place when the woman is at a higher level than man, that is when the moon-woman is close to the sun-man but is higher than him. This is the meaning of the verse: "A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband, eshet hayil, ateret baala" (Proverbs 12, 4). This is the complete reverse of the usual Western attitude which regards women as objects to be admired, used, and humiliated. It is also very far from the matriarchal approach which stresses women's "power." This is a society which is regulated by women's rhythms and based on sensitive reciprocity.

The differences between the sexes: adjustment

In contrast to social tendencies which tend to dismiss and humiliate women, Judaism reminds us that the initial unity which existed in Adam harishon had to be corrected in order to be fertile (from a position of back to back, to one of face to face), but the position of fecundity in love should not be confused with the social subordination of women. This teaches us that the true basis of love is equality, as in the equal horizontal relationship of the cherubs in the Holy of Holies and as in the simultaneous elevation of the sefirot. (Refer to more advanced texts.)

Any other interpretation which tries to justify the subordination of women is based on complete ignorance of Jewish tradition.

The meaning of (temporary) privation

" The above does not represent an idyllic state. It involves mutual devotion and commitment on the part of husbands and wives. Keeping nidda well is not easy and requires constant control and discipline on both sides.

" The periods of separation symbolized in nidda are also found in periods of separation, illness, widowhood or other forms of parting.

" What has been said above applies to all these situations of separation.

Only they can make us understand the phases of desire, silence, night, which represent the shekhina in exile. As David says in Psalm 119, 71:
tov li uneti, lemaan elmad hukekha
"It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes."

" These situations have an important educational role. Light can sometimes be dark when it obscures, as when the light of the sun obscures, during the day, the splendor of the stars and the heavens.
" Sometimes the darkness is a place of great enlightenment ; those who are used to the darkness can see through it, like the bene Yisrael during the plague of darkness in Egypt, when they saw great riches. Darkness allows us to slowly discover trust, devotion, tenderness, love, attention; it makes us understand the suffering of others, that of the Creator when his people were in exile, the humiliation and the suffering of Israel.
" Darkness lets us hear the quivering which precedes the dawn, and teaches us language that is invisible. This is found in human experience, human relations, and in history.
" We can now possible to understand many passages of the Torah that could not be understood before: many verses describe suffering, abandonment, depression, tears, darkness, cries for help, and yet end in trust, praise, and submission to the will of the Creator, in yira "awe," a concept hardly known today and which involves true humility and modesty, respect and understanding of the essence of pairig: "and there was night (darkness) and there was morning (light), the first day."
" Just as psychologists discover that a problem child is a rich and complex being, so these temporary situations of privation reveal to us what is really at stake: "my vine is before me." But the aim of the Song is true union and the Psalms end with an immense hallelujah and the most beautiful verse of praise (Psalm 150, 6).
" Darkness and light are as inseparable as two lovers, as Hakadosh Barukh Hu and Israel or his creation. He who comes through the darkness has left behind insolence, selfishness, vulgarity and, through privation, is able to appreciate the true value of feelings and inner depth.
" Orphans, sick people, those who are widowed and those who convert (the gerim) understand this process. The Psalms describe Hashem's concern and presence at these times. It is important to read Psalm 146.
" The process of privation is expressed in the oft-repeated concept of the "infertile woman" akara. Re-read chapter 54 of Isaiah and the beginning of the First Book of Samuel. Elkanah says to Hannah, his wife who was infertile: "am I not better than 10 sons?" (1, 8).
And it she who will give birth to the greatest of prophets, Shmuel Samuel.

In the plan of re-recreation, which constitutes the book of Shemot, and its outcome at Pesah, it is this conjugal relationship which is defined as the condition for the success of all humanity, just as at the beginning of creation. But this time the outcome is successful for Hashem tells how to achive thi relationship.

The importance of feminity in the world.

" Regretfully, the degradation of women is still the norm in the world: women are rarely respected by their husbands and they have still not attained their rightful place in society. Domestic violence is rife.
" Man continues to wield his power in society in the same way as he wields it in his home: discriminating, abusing, engaging in wars, in political exploitation, criminal violence, domestic violence, vulgarity, and sexual exploitation of women and children.
" The lack of solidarity between classes and between nationalities, which characterize social, national and international relations, the shameless use of religion as an instrument of domination, the championing of individualism and financial "success" instead of moral behavior, all stem from distorted man-woman relationships and handicap the process of development of all humanity (which is called "creation" in Judaism). This is what we learn from the first phase of the liberation from Egypt which is expressed in the renewal of the month.
" Similarly, Israel, which represents femininity, is still fragile and humiliated.

And our people?

" The Jewish people, in its land and in the world, are a laboratory where these phenomena are most vivid. We should not be surprised to witness brutal and horrific events here, for we are at the heart of the cyclone.
" These terrible events are also due to the fact that Israel and its people are not complete: Israel is not in its holy land- - nor in numbers, not in quality - and because of this, the temple and the Sanhedrin cannot function as the sources of regulation, training, prayer, union, study and guidance. This is what is called the state of external and internal exile, the galut, and this is why Israel can be seen as unable to transmit its light, just like an overcast moon.
" Israel's difficult situation is also influenced by the fact that it sometimes passes through period of great diffusion of its light - like the moon --- and sometimes through periods of retraction and diminution of its light, and again through periods of luminescence. This instability increases criticism of Israel.
" Devastated by so many centuries of persecution, Israel cannot regain in one go its beauty and glory.
" But those who appreciate the qualities shown by women, today as in the liberation from Egypt, join in praise of the people, its women and the Torah, as is done every Friday night with the recitation of Eshet Hayil.

As the prophet Jeremiah says, it is the idiot who does not see the Creator and his presence in history and in his own life, and unable to see Him, he accuses Him of the ills and tragedies of life. While the Creator says: "come!"

Exercises in integration

1. Read this commentary and the references in it and discuss it with your partner.
2. Try to see together how you can reflect each other. How do both of you understand this? What are your aspirations? How can you progress in this direction?
3. Every month, with the renewal of the moon, Jews can renew themselves; examine and eliminate the imperfections which inevitably still exist in your relationship with your partner, man or woman; develop a relationship that conforms to the divine plan and to the Creators'specific injunctions in the Torah. Learn how to say hayom, today, and discover the beauty of the moon-woman and bless, and praise her as is commanded ( see the commentary on Rosh Hodesh in the list of festivals).
Observe the moon at the beginning of the month. Open the image of the moon on the site.
4. Put into practice this knowledge every Shabbat.
5. Every Pesah, see how you can relive individually, as a family and a collective, this historical process in which Hashem delivers Israel-woman.
6. Reflect on how to educate your children on these points.

***********

Important Note: look up in the dictionary:
--- mitzva, mitzvot, taryag.
--- molad, cycle, nidda (learn the meaning of the different terms).

For an understanding of nidda, consult orthodox women in your community or your rabbi.

Recommended reading:

Refer to the references.

Read the commentary on Rosh Hodesh.

Vocabulary

month, hodesh
first, rishon
year, shana
moon, yareah or levana
sun, shemesh
orphan, yatom
sick, hole
widower, alman ; widow, almana
an infertile woman, akara

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- Psychology and Repentance
   (in french)

Part 15
STUDY HEBREW

Part 16
JERUSALEM

- Jerusalem excavations
- Terror and counseling
- Peace and peoples
- Israel and Iran
- Visual study & song on snow
for, through our union with the song of nature, the plan of Creation will be fulfilled

-
Poem: to be moon

In french

Avec Modia, vivez
vos vacances en Israël,
Texte et photos

- Par Modia, arrivez au Kotel
- La vie du Kotel
- Prières au Kotel
- Fête au Kotel
- La destruction du Temple
- Photos rares et émouvantes des abords du Temple
- Synagogues de Jérusalem
- Maisons de Jérusalem
- Les fleurs de Jérusalem
- Ici, tout sur Jérusalem
- "Le" texte sur Jérusalem
- Voir et visiter Israël
- Voyage dans le Nord d'Israël
- Belle carte d'Israël
- Jérusalem et les nations

- Vacances en Israël sur Modia
- Le Kotel en film direct
- et ici aussi, autre caméra

- Trahison historique:
L'antique synagogue de Jéricho

 

Part 17
ISRAEL AND
THE NATIONS

- Love towards all people
- Light in war
- Before the hanukiah
- Land of Israel
- Jerusalem excavations 2007
  Proof of the lies propagated
  by the media

In french - Hope in Israel



Part 20
PHOTOS
"Encounters with God
in the real"

- You are planning a tour in Israel - Photos
- My photos and judaism
- New year of beauty
- Flowers
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Gallery photos


Part 21
SONGS

- My english songs



Dedication

Rav Professor
Yehoshua Rahamim Dufour
(Dipur, in hebrew)

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All images on the site are personal photos of the author, except a few specified that images are copyright External authorized
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