Our Parsha, Bo, starts with the eighth plague, as G-d informs Moshe that the last of the plagues are signs 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). Wouldn’t the first seven plagues convey G-d’s dominance 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 show the Egyptians of G-d’s dominance, because that was already obvious. It was to show the Jewish people how much they mean 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 by expressing how important they are to us.
Love and honor benefit everyone, but only when they’re expressed. “And in order” that our children know that they are loved, “and in order” that our parents know that they are loved and appreciated for everything that they have done for us. Only by expressing affection to our loved ones can we perpetuate that love and hope to merit its growth.