Dvar for Bo (Exodus 10:1-13:16)
Our Parsha, Bo, starts with G-d’s instructing Moshe to warn Paroh that the last of the plagues will be proof of G-d’s dominance (10:1). The next passuk (verse) starts with a unique word, “ulema’an,” “and in order” that you tell your children about the signs and miracles that G-d performed on our behalf (10:2). The only other time the word “ulema’an” is used is in reference to honoring your parents, proclaiming that the reward of honoring one’s parents is long life, “and in order” that things go well with us (Deut. 5:16). Don’t the first seven plagues already convey G-d’s supremacy and greatness? What makes the last few plagues different? Also, what is the connection to honoring one’s parents?
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig offers a fascinating insight. He explains that the purpose of the last plagues wasn’t to demonstrate G-d’s dominance to the Egyptians, because that was already obvious. It was to show the Jewish people how much they meant to G-d and what He was willing to do for them. Similarly, the requirement to honor our parents is intended to benefit both them and ourselves. Only by expressing affection to our loved ones can we perpetuate that love and hope to merit its growth.