Office of the Chief Rabbi

D’var Torah: Parashat Bo

Spoiler alert: Let us not become the ‘dog which barks’

In Parashat Bo, after many years of persecution and slavery, Bnei Yisrael were ready to leave Egypt. And then Hashem tells them, Velo Yecheratz Kelev Leshono, I will guarantee, He said, ‘that not a single dog will bark’ as you emerge forth from Pharaoh’s Egypt.

It’s all very nice that no dogs will bark but what difference at all would that make to anyone? The Rashbam and Ibn Ezra both suggest, that Hashem wanted to guarantee that nothing whatsoever would mar the exhilarated feeling and experience of joy for the people.

‘It’s all very nice that no dogs will bark but what difference at all would that make to anyone?’

In Sefer Orchot Tzaddikim, written in Spain in Medieval Times, the author tells us that sometimes you might be preparing a large dish of food, and let’s say there are twenty ingredients, nineteen of which are absolutely perfect and wonderful, but with the twentieth, there is something wrong with it, it might even be a small, little spice and that twentieth ingredient could spoil the entire dish.

Similarly, if let’s say if somebody had a Simcha and there are 300 guests and 299 of them say such wonderful things and you know that it was such a special day in your life and everything was perfect. And along comes one guest, the only one – and he or she, has got a complaint. Something or other was wrong for them. So what will then play on your mind afterwards? It will probably be the comment of that one single person and that could spoil all your memories of that special day.

‘The message for us is, that when it comes to happy times of others, let us not become the dog who barks, lets enhance their occasion for them’

Similarly, Hashem wanted to guarantee, that not even a dog would bark as the Israelites were emerging from Egypt after so many years of sadness and bondage. He didn’t want anything to spoil their great exhilarated experience.

The message for us is, that when it comes to happy times of others, let us not become the dog who barks, lets enhance their occasion for them and guarantee that it will be always in their minds, the most special day in their lives.

Shabbat Shalom