In this week’s Parsha, Bo, Pharaoh continually hardens his heart against the people of Israel, and refuses to let them leave Mitzrayim. Moshe Rabbenu feels distressed and let down by Pharaoh’s behaviour, as it represented the sheer determination and resolution of the forces of evil. Upon seeing Moshe’s distraught reaction to this evil, G‑d said to him, “They, on their own, do not possess such power. It is only because I have hardened their hearts”.
When we come up against challenges in our life, the world can seem unfair and hard-hearted. But Judaism makes no attempt to pretend that these difficult times are caused by some evil force- some scapegoat we can blame everything on. Instead, we are reminded in this week’s Parsha that stumbling blocks and challenges come from G-d, too, and that we must work through them with persistence, courage and emunah.
Shabbes candles should be lit at 4:09 PM in London, and Shabbes goes out at 5:24 PM tomorrow. When lighting your candles, please keep in mind Chaim Elozor ben Baila, Shmuel Yosef ben Soroh Malka, Moshe ben Soroh Malka, Moshe ben Genya, Moshe ben Hadasa and Chashachana bas Bryna for a refuah shleimah. Thank you, and gut Shabbes!