In this week’s Torah portion, Bo, God brings the final three plagues on the Egyptians and we leave Egypt. In the portion, we are told several times that God “hardened Pharaoh’s heart” in his refusal to let us go free from Egypt.
What makes up these moments of Pharaoh’s hardened heart, his unwillingness to budge, and his unwillingness to let us go free from Egypt?
When we too go through hardships, we may have a tendency as well, to harden our hearts…so much so that our challenges can be seen as someone else’s fault and something outside of ourselves. Our hearts are hardened to the reality of change, and the options and possible resources that can help us through tough times.
So how do we address the burden of our challenges? Our inner-ness is represented by the heart of Pharaoh and the obstacles that we must pass through on our way to spiritual freedom. Challenges do not always pass quickly, but there may be moments of softening and moments of strengthening.
Moses asks for our people to be freed together, that even our animals not be left behind. Men, women, children, and animals must all be freed together. To find a softening to our challenges, we must be part of a whole, to be part of family, a community, to be part of a people. To find hope and healing, we need a team that can help us through the ultimate plague – darkness.
Out of the need for support through challenges, our KI Inclusion Committee recognizes that our hearts are softened with a support team and with a community. We have upcoming dates for the following support groups: Grief Support Workshop on Tuesdays, February 11 & March 10 at 7:00 p.m. and Conversation with the Cantor on Sunday, March 22 at 10:30 a.m.
May our hearts be softened through the love of one another in all of the challenges in our lives. Shabbat Shalom!
Cantor Amy E. Levy