A Sacred Time
The Hebrew name of this month is Av, and when we reverse its letters—alef and bet—a we get “bo,” the Hebrew word that means “come” in the command form.
On the eve of the exodus, G-d instructed Moses: “Bo—come—to Pharaoh.” Shouldn’t He have said, “Go?” When it was time for Abraham to head out on his journey to the Promised Land, G-d said, “Go.” Why didn’t He use the term that we would expect when He pushed Moses to approach the Egyptian ruler?
Rebbe Nachman explains that “come to Pharaoh” has an important lesson for us. Pharaoh was our enslaver, our tormentor. The physical Pharaoh embittered our lives, and there are many circumstances and inner forces and feelings that can do the same. When we suffer from feelings of inadequacy, jealousy or rage, Moses is our path to liberation. Moses represents da’at—conscious awareness of G-d. It’s the integrated knowledge that G-d is right here with us, and everything is orchestrated providentially…even our challenges. When we finally hear His voice telling Moses—our conscious awareness—to confront Pharaoh, He does not tell us to “go.” He says, instead, “come”—come with Me, and we’ll go to face your demons together. It’s when we feel small and distant that He takes us by the hand—“I dwell together with the downtrodden.”
Av is the low point of the Jewish year, when we’re still reeling from the fallout of the Pharaohs of our collective past. Even as we face our historical pain, we still need to remember that we’re in the month of Av, of bo—“Come with Me.”