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Bo - Weekly Thought - By Rabbi Shimon Raichik

Thursday, 21 January, 2010 - 11:14 pm

The Torah says that if your child will ask you tomorrow what is this that we tell him that with a strong arm Hashem took us out of Egypt (Shemos 13:14). Rashi interprets that there is a tomorrow meaning now and a tomorrow meaning later and he brings a proof from Sefer Yehoshua: that after conquering Eretz Yisroel the tribes of Gad and Reuven went back to their land and erected a mizbei'ach. The other shevotim asked why are you doing this? So Gad and Revuen replied that there will come a time that your children will tell our children that we have no right to the west side of the Jordan river – so we are building a mizbei'ach as a monument to remember the misirus nefesh our shevotim had fighting for Eretz Yisroel and that we also have a portion in Eretz Yisroel.

The Rebbe asks a simple question. What is Rashi bothered with that he has to explain “tomorrow”? The answer is the Torah could merely have said “if your son will ask you” why mention “tomorrow” at all? Rashi explains to us that the word tomorrow has two meanings, not only the time twenty four hours in the future after the sun went down and the sun came up; but also right after an event occurred or in the distant future. Sometimes a child can ask questions – he is a child – he did not yet learn so he asks ma zos -what is this about. Then there is someone who is living in a different era. Not only he doesn't know, but the whole thing is strange to him. This is what Rashi is explaining. There is a tomorrow that is “now” the child wants to know what his father is doing (i.e. redeeming the first born). And then there is the tomorrow that is in the distant future, exemplified by Bnei Gad and Bnei Reuven because they had forethought that the next generation will forget what had happened, and your children will tell our children “this is a new era that our children have no right to Eretz Yisroel”.

Rashi is telling us that are two types of children. There are those who are living in the next generation but whose way of life is the same as their parents, they want to know only because they didn't actually see it happen. But their parents can communicate to them because they have the same language and the same feeling. This is called a tomorrow which is now. Then there is a “new” generation, those children whose way of life differs from their parents, they say they are living in a new era.

The previous era is not here anymore, they have a different outlook than their parents and they also ask questions. The Torah tells us don't be afraid, answer them, for they are Jewish children.

Based on a sicha that was said Yud Shevat 40 years ago, Parsha Bo
(Likutei Sichos, vol. 6 Appendix; vol. 31)

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