Bo: The Day After Tomorrow

For our sons and grandsons.

Rabbi S. Weiss,

Judaism לבן ריק
לבן ריק
Arutz 7

There are many people who live for today. Some people live for yesterday, and other people live for tomorrow. And then there are those who live for the day after tomorrow.

Life is about learning. We live, we learn and we (hopefully) grow - in wisdom, in behavior, in holiness. The Jewish sojourn in Mitzrayim was meant to be the learning experience par excellence; and its profound lessons should be studied and scrutinized, and should never be lost on us.

As our sedra opens, HaShem orders Moshe to approach Par'o and warn him regarding the eighth plague, locusts.
Notice the subtle phraseology Moshe uses?
"I have hardened Par'o's heart," says G-d, "so as to multiply My wonders. And so you can tell your sons and your grandsons what I did to Egypt, so that you all may know I am HaShem."

Moshe then proceeds to meet Par'o and tell him about the impending locust attack: "They will cover the earth, they will consume your crops and fill your houses. It will be something never before seen by the likes of your father and grandfather from the time the world was formed."

Notice the subtle phraseology Moshe uses? About Am Yisrael, he talks of future generations - sons and grandsons. But vis a vis Egypt, he cites previous generations.

Anyone who has traveled to China or India knows that many of the Eastern religions do not believe in a Supreme Being. Instead of worshiping G-d, they pray to their ancestors. But Jews - while revering those who came before us, either in our personal families or in the history of our people - pray only to the One G-d. (Thus, when we visit cemeteries, we ask our loved ones to use their merit and intercede for us with HaShem; we do not pray to them.)

For we are answerable not only to our predecessors, but also to those who will come after us. We cannot make decisions based only on past precedent; we also have to consider the effect on future generations. They are the ones who will reap the reward or punishment for what we do today.

David Ben-Gurion met with his advisors to decide whether or not to declare statehood. Then, he dismissed the group and said he must first consult with two other people before he was ready to act: One was his zayde, long since dead; the other, his grandchild, not yet born.

I wish I had a nickel - or better, a five-shekel coin - for every time someone came up to me and said, "Rabbi, you know, my bubbie was a tzadeyket and an ayshet chayil; my zayde was a talmid chacham and a distinguished rabbi!"

I always reply, "That's amazing! But I'm even more interested in who your grandson and granddaughter will be."

That's the power of the day after tomorrow.