Parashat Bo

Keeping Faith

Just as the Israelites maintained their faith through nine plagues, none of which succeeded in convincing Pharaoh to free them, we too should develop our ability to have faith in times of darkness.

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D'var Torah

How long can people have faith when miracles do not work? If God answered our every prayer, if our own personal miracles arrived the minute we call out, we could never understand our ancestors' despair as they waited and waited, their hopes dashed time and again. But it doesn't happen for us, either. We and our loved ones suffer illnesses that are not cured with a single pill or a single course of treatment. We endure physical therapy, falling time and again as we try to regain control of our muscles. We enter depressions that seem unending. We struggle for causes that are just but seem always to be out of reach.

We need to understand the faith it took for the Israelites to say, "Maybe this time, Moses will succeed. Maybe this time, Pharaoh will let us go. Maybe this time, the miracle will really happen." It is easy to have faith in miracles if we can call them up at will. But it is hard--very hard--to have faith in miracles and in God when we are repeatedly disappointed. Yet the Israelites did it, and so can we. It is fine to say that we Jews need to feel that we personally left Egypt. But it will mean more and teach us more if we can acknowledge that we personally are waiting to leave Egypt.

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Rabbi Donald A. Weber

Rabbi Donald A. Weber is the spiritual leader of Temple Rodeph Torah of Western Monmouth, Marlboro, NJ.