The Parasha begins with God commanding Moshe to “come to Pharaoh – bo el Paraoh (Exodus 10:1).” Rabbeinu Bachaya explains that the word “bo” here indicates entering into a building; specifically Pharaoh’s palace. Moshe was commanded so because the Torah had previously stated that Pharaoh went into his palace and did not heed the words of Moshe (Exodus 7:23). Pharaoh’s entering his palace juxtaposed to his ignoring Moshe is seen by Rabbeinu Bachaya as the cause of this lack of cooperation. The grandeur and comfort of his edifice engendered a sense of security and haughtiness that allowed Pharaoh to maintain his stubborn refusal of letting the Jews free.
A person’s environment and creature comforts have an enormous impact on his thoughts and feelings. Pharaoh couldn’t recognize the truth of God’s might because his beautiful home gave him a false sense of safety and power. Physical displays of grace and stability should not lull us to believe in their endurance or actual strength. Too many painful recent events reveal to us the danger in being too comfortable with our worldly pleasures and sense of safety. Let us internalize the reality that only our Father in Heaven can and always will protect us.