Parshas Bo

The Last Defense

I heard about a Rabbi in England who gave a drasha on Shabbos and asked, “Which was worse, the slavery in Egypt or the atrocities of the Holocaust?” He then answered, “The slavery in Egypt.” Before he could continue a Survivor in the congregation unrolled his sleeve to reveal a tattooed number. “Excuse me Rabbi, I never heard of anyone with a number on their arm demanding to return to Auschwitz...” That was the end of the drasha.

Of course nothing in our history can compare to the Holocaust. Yet we survived. In Mitzrayim we reached the 49th level of tumah. Even though we spoke Hebrew, wore our own clothes, and kept our Jewish names, it was not enough to keep us from falling. When we were close to a point of no return Hashem immediately took us out. There wasn’t even time for our bread to rise! It took less than 210 years for us to reach a spiritual wasteland.

We have been in galus now for more than 2000 years, we have suffered one terrible pogrom after another. We’ve wandered the entire earth and even now that we have a home, we are continually threatened. Why did the slaves in Egypt necessitate such a sudden and dramatic redemption after only 210 years while we are left longing for salvation for over 2,000 years?

The answer is that the Jews in Mitzrayim still did not have the Torah. Even with the safeguards they had in place, it was not enough. A Jew without Torah will eventually disappear, he will assimilate. We have the Torah therefore we are able to continue to live as Jews despite the long exile and the horrible crimes committed against us. Life without Torah is unbearable, it is no life. If Torah is not valued in the home, then eventually the children become enslaved to a foreign lifestyle. Our only protection is to teach Torah to others and to encourage our brethren to hold on to each and every Mitzvah.

If you would like to dedicate a Davar Torah in honor of a special occasion or in memory of a beloved family member please contact Yisroel Simon at