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Friday, Shevat 5, 5782 / January 7, 2022


Parshat Bo, which will be read this Shabbat, tells the story of the Exodus. After living in Egypt for 210 years, the Jewish people were finally freed. Their freedom came about on the 15th day in the month of Nissan. For thousands of years we have celebrated the 15th of Nissan as the holiday of Passover – Holiday of Freedom.


At the end of this Parsha, the Torah commands us about the mitzvah of Tefillin, which are worn by Jewish men, over the age of 13, each weekday morning. It is also found later in Deuteronomy.


Q.How many Jews came out of Egypt on that day?


A.The Torah doesn’t give an exact number. The Torah does tell us that 600,000 men over the age of 20 came out of Egypt at the time of the Exodus. This number doesn’t take into account the women and children who came out. Thus, we can estimate that a few million people came out at that time. In addition, the Torah tells us, that also a multitute of people, non Jewish, escaped Egypt.   


Q.  The Exodus was in the month of Nissan. The Torah says “This month shall be for you the head of all months.” What is the significance of Nissan that it became the “head” of all months of the year?


A.  “Nissan” comes from the word “Nes” – “miracle.”  The month of Nissan, when the Jewish nation was liberated, being the head of all the months teaches us that, just as the Exodus was a miracle, so too, the very existence of the Jewish people, throughout the generations, is a constant miracle.


Q.Concerning the Tefillin, the Torah says, "And it shall be a sign on your hand and a reminder between your eyes." Why are the Tefillin usually placed on the "left arm"?


A.  The word "your hand" is spelled in the Torah not in the usual way, but with an extra letter "hay".  This renders the word "yad keha" which means "the weaker hand."  As a result, a right-handed person puts the Tefillin on the left hand, while a lefty puts it on the right hand.


Q.What is the idea behind the Tefillin?


A.The purpose of the Tefillin is to remind us about our commitment and obligation to G-d. In the Shema we say, "And you shall not turn after your heart and after your eyes after which you stray, so that you may remember and perform all My commandments.” To accomplish that one has to have control over theireyes, heart, thought andactions. The Tefillin are a daily reminder of this. We place them on the head to influence our thoughts with holiness. They are placed "between the eyes" to remind us that one must be in control of what they see. We also bind them on the left hand near the heart to show that one must practice control over one's desires (heart) and actions (hand).




Montreal candle lighting time: 4:09 / 5:19