This week’s Parsha, Bo, is set in Egypt, with the Israelites nearing the end of their enslavement under Pharoah. After Moshe's request for the nation’s freedom is denied once again, G-d unleashes the final three of the ten plagues on Egypt: locusts that devour all of Egypt’s crops, a palpable form of darkness so thick that it froze Egyptians for three days, and the death of all of Egypt’s firstborn. Before the tenth plague, G-d instructed the Israelites to slaughter a lamb, and smear its blood on the doorposts of their homes. This indicated which homes were to be passed over during the conducting of the tenth plague.
Following the death of his firstborn, Pharoah’s resistance is finally broken, and he grants the Israelites their freedom after centuries of enslavement in Egypt. In fact, he is so agitated by the effects of the final plague, he swiftly drives the people of Israel from his land in such little time that they leave with unleavened bread. Following their exit from Egypt, G-d commands the people of Israel to convey the story of their struggle for freedom to their children. In this way, the tradition is continuously shared with future generations.
Today we perform a mitzvah during the Pesach Seder, in which we eat matzah and reflect on the theme of redemption with our families and those close to us. By sitting down and telling the story of our ancestors, a fundamental practice of our Jewish tradition, we remind ourselves that our identities are not only influenced by our own experiences and actions, but also by past experiences that we collectively share as a community. On one hand, this demonstrates that being part of an ancient and impressive nation is a privilege, but this also proposes an important responsibility which we must acknowledge for the future: we must embrace our valuable tradition through continuously revising its knowledge, and ensure it is continuously passed on to future generations.
Moreover, this mitzvah does not only remain within the confines of Jewish practice. In fact, I would like to emphasize that this mitzvah should be integrated into our daily lives. As my peers and I approach graduation, I have learnt that informing others of knowledge that they are yet exposed to fulfills this mitzvah. In my case, it is sharing with MYP students the importance of time-management in the Diploma Programme. As for you students, I am sure that you can find others to pass your knowledge down to, and in doing so, show them your support.