Coming or Going

At the start of last week’s Torah portion, Parshat Bo, we hear God instructing Moses to go to visit Pharaoh to warn him of the plague of locusts. It is curious that God does not tell him to go, rather, to come to Pharaoh. We read, “God said to Moses, ’Come to Pharaoh, for I have made his heart and the heart of his servants stubborn so that I can put these signs of Mine in his midst.’” (Exodus 10:1). It is even more confusing for Moses who grew up in the house of Pharaoh assuming the Pharaoh himself was a god. What does it mean that God might be with Pharaoh?

It is clear that God is everywhere, and that Pharaoh is not a god. But it is still challenging to think that God stands with evil. It would have been much easier for Moses to exact the plagues against Pharaoh, his court, and all of Egypt without having to be reminded that God is to be found in evil people. Moses loyally follows God’s directions, but that does not absolve him from having to navigate his own moral compass. Yes, we need to find a way to speak truth to power. In life’s journey, we can never forget our sense of direction. We are all created in the image of God. If we forget this, we will not know if we are coming or going.

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