Parshat Bo Summary

Parshat Bo is the 3rd parsha in Sefer Shemot (also known as Exodus).

This parsha is verses Exodus 10:1 – 13:16, or a total of 105 verses.

Here is a brief summary for each aliyah.

Aliyah 1: Exodus 10:1 – 10:11, 11 verses

Parshat Vaeira included 7 of the 10 plagues. Parshat Bo starts with Moses warning Pharaoh about the 8th plague, the locust swarm. Pharaoh’s advisers try to convince him to let the Jewish people leave.

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Aliyah 2: Exodus 10:12 – 10:23, 12 verses

Pharaoh again decides not to send the Jewish people away. The locust swarm causes great damage to Egypt. Pharaoh still refuses to let the people go.

The last 3 verses of this aliyah describe the 9th plague, the plague of darkness.

Aliyah 3: Exodus 10:24 – 11:3, 9 verses

As a result of the plague of darkness, Pharaoh offers to let the people go, but their flocks must be left in Egypt. Moses refuses the offer.

I’ve written a separate article about Pharaoh’s offer here.

Then God tells Moses about the 10th and final plague, the death of the firstborn.

Aliyah 4: Exodus 11:4 – 12:20, 27 verses

Moses tells Pharaoh about the coming plague. As a result of the coming plague all of the Egyptians will beg the Jewish people to leave.

God tells Moses how the Jews are to protect themselves from the plague. They are to slaughter the Passover Offering and place some of the blood on the door frame. There are also instructions about how Passover will be celebrated in the future.

Aliyah 5: Exodus 12:21 – 12:28, 8 verses

Moses tells the leaders of the people about the first Passover offering. The Jewish people do what God has commanded them to do.

Aliyah 6: Exodus 12:29 – 12:51, 23 verses

The Plague of the Firstborn strikes exactly at midnight, as Moses told Pharaoh. The Egyptians urge the Jews to leave Egypt. All of the Jewish people travel from Ramses to Sukkot.

This aliyah ends with more details about how Passover will be celebrated in the future.

Aliyah 7: Exodus 13:1 – 13:16, 16 verses

These verses contain details about how the Exodus is to be remembered and explained to future generations.

Two verses (13:9 and 13:16) mention the idea of having a sign on the arm and between the eyes. This is the commandment of tefillin. Tefillin are leather boxes containing four Torah passages, including all of Exodus 13. Jewish men wear these boxes on their arm and head during morning prayers.

How Many Verses in Bo?

If you add up the number of verses in each aliyah the total is 106 verses. But the tradition is that there are only 105 verses in Parshat Bo.

I saw one explanation that perhaps Exodus 13:1 and 2 are actually only 1 verse. The cantillation marks on the words seem to support this idea.

Haftarah Summary

This haftarah for Parshat Bo comes from Jeremiah 46:13 – 28.

The prophet Jeremiah proclaims that Egypt will be destroyed by Babylon. God tells the Jewish people that though He will destroy the nations where the Jews have been exiled, the Jewish people will never be destroyed.

Further Reading

Here at Thinking Torah there are other articles about Sefer Shemot. Here’s one that discusses what happened during the Plague of Darkness.

A Note on the Translations
The translation of Bible verses is based on the Judaica Press Tanach.
The translation of Gemara is based on the Soncino Talmud.
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