Weekly Torah Portion – Bo

Why Read the Torah

Finding Jesus in the Old Testament: A Weekly Reading from the Torah – Bo


From Beginning to End: Summary of this Week’s Torah Portion

This week’s Torah portion begins with Moses being sent to Pharaoh to command the Egyptians to let the Children of Israel go. When Pharaoh refuses, the Lord brings the plague of hail, then the plague of darkness, and finally the death of all the first born.

Like Moses, God has given each one of us a mission and a message. When you find your mission and message, you find true meaning, which empowers you to make a major impact in the lives of others. Like Moses and Aaron, God has given you a voice so you can declare the freedom we have in the Lord. It’s time to go and speak to those who are being oppressed, restricted, and imprisoned so they can experience freedom and breakthrough in the Lord!

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What’s in a name?: Bo

The name of this week’s Torah portion is Bo, which means “Come,” as in “Moses said to Pharaoh, ‘Come to Pharaoh’” (Exodus 10:1).

Hebrew is alphanumeric, which means that you write numbers with letters. The numeric value of the word “Bo” is three, which alludes to the fact that this portion of the Torah contains the last three plagues the Lord brings upon Egypt.

In fact, three is the foundation of redemption. The ninth plague, the plague of darkness, lasts for three days. To be spared from the tenth plague, the Children of Israel had to sprinkle the blood of the Passover Lamb three times on the doorposts of their homes.

Yeshua, like Moses, “Bo,” or came to the Children of Israel to proclaim redemption! But only a remnant believed, and as a result, Israel’s redemption was delayed. There is coming a day, I believe not far off, when Israel will raise its voice and declare “Baruch HaBa (a form of the verb Bo) BeShem Adonai (Matthew 23:39).” When Israel welcomes Messiah Yeshua in this way, the final redemption, which is a second and greater Exodus, will be realized.

Not only does the Torah portion that culminates with Israel’s redemption begin with the Hebrew word “Bo,” but the last chapter in New Testament actually contains the word: “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come/Bo!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come/Bo!’”
(Revelation 22:17).

Each one of us as Yeshua’s bride must cry out with the Holy Spirit, “Come Lord Yeshua! Come!” This longing leads to lasting change and transformation in your life now and for the entire world when this desire is fulfilled!

Parashat Bo

  • Reading 1: 10:1-11 (11 p’sukim)
  • Reading 2: 10:12-23 (12 p’sukim)
  • Reading 3: 10:24-11:3 (9 p’sukim)
  • Reading 4: 11:4-12:20 (27 p’sukim)
  • Reading 5: 12:21-28 (8 p’sukim)
  • Reading 6: 12:29-51 (23 p’sukim)
  • Reading 7: 13:1-16 (16 p’sukim)
  • Reading from the Prophets/Haftarah: Jeremiah 46:13 – 46:28
  • New Covenant Reading/Brit Hadasha: Matthew 23:37-39, Matthew 27:45-55


Commentary by Rabbi Jason Sobel

What was the nature of the plague of darkness that God brought upon Egypt (Exodus 10:21-22)? Why is darkness an appropriate plague to bring upon Egypt? What were the primary purposes of this plague? Is there any Messianic significance found in it?

The darkness that was experienced in Egypt during the ninth plague was no ordinary darkness. Our sages teach that it was so thick and compact that it not only blinded the Egyptians, but also immobilized them. By restricting their ability to move, God punished the Egyptians midda keneged midda (measure for measure) by taking away their freedom like they had done to the children of Israel. As they sat confined in the darkness, they physically and psychologically experienced the fear and terror of slavery.

The nature of the darkness, according to Jewish tradition, is not only a fitting punishment but also crucial for accomplishing the two primary purposes of this plague. Commenting upon the first purpose Midrash Tanchuma Parashat Bo’ 3 states:

“All the Children of Israel had light [in their dwellings]” (Exodus 10:23). In their dwellings refers to the dwellings of the Egyptians. This means that when the children of Israel went into the Egyptian homes, light accompanied them and illuminated all the gold and silver vessels, as well as the clothes that Egyptians had hidden in barrels, boxes, and treasure-chests. When they asked the Egyptians to lend them these vessels, the Egyptians would reply, “I do not have it.” They would then say, “Here it is – in this place there are such and such gold vessels.”

Thus, the first purpose of this plague is to allow the Children of Israel to enter freely into the homes of the Egyptians in order to take an inventory of their wealth in preparation for the plundering of Egypt. Having this information was important so that God’s promise to Abraham could be fully realized, the promise that following the enslavement of his descendents for 400 years, “in the end they will come away with great wealth” (Genesis 15:13-14).

In giving the Children of Israel the wealth of Egypt, the Lord demonstrated both his love and justice by punishing the Egyptians for their abusive actions and by compensating the people for their years of servitude.

Rashi articulates the second reason for this plague:

Why did he bring darkness on them? Because there were among the Israelites of that generation evil people who did not wish to leave, and they died out during the three days of darkness so that the Egyptians [would] not see their demise thereby saying, “They are being struck as we are.”

Every Israelite who loved Egypt and its material comforts more than the Lord died there during the three days of darkness. The spiritual point being made is that only those who desired to be redeemed from Egypt experienced deliverance. What was true in the days of Moses is true today was well. Only those who believe with complete faith in the Messiah and long for the final redemption will experience it. Like our ancestors, we are also in exile awaiting redemption. As we wait, let us not grow weary or lose our desire for it. Rather we must live as if our redemption is imminent. Like our forbearers, who on the eve of the Exodus ate with their “loins girded,” “shoes on,” and “staff in hand” (Exodus 12:11), we must also demonstrate our longing for the Messianic redemption and spiritually prepare for it.

Connecting Old & New: Finding Jesus in the Torah

Not only is the redemption from Egypt connected to the number three but so is the salvation that Messiah Yeshua brings. At the Last Supper, which was a Passover Seder, Messiah raised the third cup, the cup of redemption (which is a reminder of the three sprinkling of the blood of the Passover Lamb in Egypt) and said this is symbolic of His blood, poured out for our salvation.

At Messiah’s crucifixion, there were three crosses. The three hours of darkness as He hung on the cross corresponds to ninth plague of darkness on Egypt, which lasted three days. Yeshua also had three places pierced—his hands, feet, and side—which points to the three sprinklings of blood on the doorposts in Egypt. When we apply the blood of Yeshua, the greater Passover lamb by faith, the Lord causes death and judgment to pass over us so that we might find forgiveness and freedom leading to life eternal! The first Passover points to the ultimate Passover that finds its prophetic fulfillment in Yeshua, who is the true Passover lamb that takes away the sin. The Good News is that one whom the Son sets free is free indeed! So don’t ever go back to Egypt but rather grow fully into the freedom you have in Messiah.