Parshat Bo – Divine Protection

This Friday will be the 23th Yahrzeit of my dear father and guide, Harav Pinchas Biberfeld זצ”ל, and I would like to dedicate the following Dvar Torah לעילוי נשמתו הטהורה :

Our Parsha starts with the instruction of Hashem to Moshe Rabeinu “Bo El Paroh”, i.e. “Come to Pharaoh”.   In Hebrew the sentence should say “Lech El Pharaoh” i.e. “Go to Pharaoh”, as is appropriate grammatically. 

To explain this variation, I would like to relate a story:

My father, Harav Pinchas, served as a Rav of the Munich Congregation for many years. The Kehila had a long standing arrangement with the Munich Hilton Hotel, so that large Jewish festivities were conducted in the “Marco Polo” beautiful hall. The hotel separated a section of its kitchen, to be kept kosher, and was not used except for when a Jewish function took place. The Mashgiach, the kosher supervisor, had the key to the kosher kitchen and for many years this arrangement worked well and many weddings and Bar and Bat Mitzvahs were celebrated there.

Until one person unfortunately decided that the kosher Bar Mitzvah costs are too high, (there was of course a higher fee for the kosher food, the Mashgiach etc.) and he is going to do his son’s Bar Mitzvah in the “Marco Polo” hall, butuse the general kitchen (Treifa i.e. non-kosher) of the hotel to prepare a “Kosher style” menu. It was indeed much cheaper. 

My father, the Rav, was told about it on the day of the Bar Mitzvah, and was very concerned that many guests will not be aware that this function (being that it is in the same place as all kosher functions take place) is not kosher at all, and eat inadvertently non-kosher food. 

He was already old and frail, but knew however what he had to do. The Rav appeared (uninvited, of course…) at the Bar Mitzvah, and said to the surprised father of the boy that he would like to make a short speech. Upon receiving the microphone, he said:Dear parents and guests. I would like to wish the Bar Mitzvah a hearty Mazal Tov and hope he will grow to be a proud member of our community and bring much joy to his parents. At the same time I feel it is my obligation to inform you that the food served here tonight in Not Kosher. Thank you and Mazal Tov to all and Good Voch”  

I asked my father how he took the courage to do this. He replied that he knew it was his responsibility, and Hashem “was with me”. 

When Hashem instructed Moshe Rabeinu to “visit” an obviously very frustrated and angry Pharaoh, Hashem reassured Moshe Rabeinu by saying:  “Come, to Pharaoh”, which indicates that Hashem is “coming” with him.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Chaim Michael Biberfeld