Parshat Bo Summary

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

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

Here is a brief summary for each aliyah.

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

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

Aliyah 2: Shemot 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: Shemot 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. Moshe refuses the offer.

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

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

Moshe 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 Moshe 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: Shemot 12:21 – 12:28, 8 verses

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

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

The Plague of the Firstborn strikes exactly at midnight, as Moshe 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: Shemot 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 Shemot 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.

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