On July 17, 1918, the last members of the Romanov dynasty in Russia were executed, signaling the end of the tsars. That day, Tsar Nicholas ll and his entire family were marched outside of their palatial prison in Ekaterinburg and brutally killed by machine gun fire. Nicholas ll was truly a modern-day Pharaoh, refusing to accede to the will of his Russian subjects during his 23 year reign. Instead of answering the cry for reform, he kept his iron grasp on the autocratic Russian regime until he was imprisoned and later executed. So too, Pharaoh kept a firm hand on the Jews until the entire Egyptian society was decimated.
In last week’s Parsha, Hashem brought seven devastating plagues to Egypt. Despite the utter destruction, Pharaoh maintained his steely resolve and did not give in to the requests of the Jews. This week, in Parshat Bo, the Egyptians were subject to three more plagues: locust, darkness, and Makat Bechorot (the death of the firstborn). Every time Moshe went to Pharaoh asking to let his people go, the Egyptian king refused to accept his demands. His refusal to give in led to utter destruction of Egyptian infrastructure, along with mass drowning of the Egyptian military at the Red Sea in next week’s Parsha.
We should learn from this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Bo, that we need to hear the voices of others and be more understanding of their position. With every passing day, Hashem tests us if we will behave as a leader like Moshe who stood up for others, or if we will act like Pharaoh, who refused to accede to the demands of others. Hopefully, we can all emulate Moshe by representing our fellow human beings and be successful in every endeavor.
By: Brian Garcia (10th Grade)