Dvar Torah Parshat Bo: The Metallica Midrash

In all honesty, this site is probably the last place you’re going to find a legit/direct dvar torah. Perhaps we’ll shock you with a curveball of intellectual insight, but for the most part that kind of material is just not our cup of tea. And besides, there are plenty of sites and publications that will provide you with a healthy dose of divrei torah – aka every single Jewish publication in existence.

Which is why we’ve decided to give you a different take on what’s going on in this week’s parsha. And the source, you might ask? Well… Just read the title.

It’s from none other than Frum From Bathurst’s favourite heavy metal band: METALLICA!

At first I was gonna write this in a yeshivish style – I even did a search on what kind of appropriate yeshivish words I could use – but instead I came to the conclusion that it was a stupid idea. It wouldn’t even be in a mocking-fashion – which would honestly be the only way I would write “yeshivishly.”

Anyways… for those knowledgeable in the awesomeness that is Metallica, you will probably know where this post is going… If not, listen up.

Metallica is a heavy metal band that originated in 1981 and is still making amazing music to this date. On one night in 1983 or 1984, bassist Cliff Burton was watching The Ten Commandments. When watching the scene where the plague of the death of the first born was descending, Burton proclaimed:

“Whao… it’s like creeping death”

The band pounced on the concept and began writing. The final result was the track Creeping Death, which appeared on Metallica’s 1984 album Ride the Lightning.

Just as the events it depicts – the song is quite epic.

And although the song discusses events that appear in three parshios (Shemos, Vaeira & Bo), the crux of the song is most prevalent in this week’s parsha. Here’s what HaRav James Hetfield shlita had to say about this weeks parsha.

It appears Rav Hetfield is approaching the events from both the perspectives of Hashem and Moshe. This is an interesting way to look at things since it would be one-sided to go with just one mindset – although to assume what HaKadosh Baruch Hu is thinking is quite a task to complete with sounding facetious, yet James pulls it off.

And who is Creeping Death, you ask? It is none other than the Hand of G-d – or as the commentary calls it – The Angel of Death!

Here is an analysis of the words:

“Slaves – Hebrews born to serve, to the pharaoh”– B’nei Yisrael who were slaves of Pharaoh
“Heed – To this every word, live in fear”
– Pharaoh did not heed Moshe’s warnings of the plagues that will bestowed upon the Egyptians
“Faith – Of the unknown one, the deliverer”– B’nei Yisrael believed in the G-d that Moshe spoke of – the one who wanted to free them from their slavery- Otherwise the “unknown one” could refer to Moshe, because the Hebrews had faith in the one who will deliver them from slavery, but they didn’t know that Moshe will be this deliverer
“Wait – Something must be done, four hundred years”
– They were supposed to be slaves of the Egyptians for a period of 400 years – when in fact according to the real Midrash, they were there much less

“So let it be written”“So let it be done”“I’m sent here by the chosen one”– Moshe is the chosen one who has been chosen by the jewish god to get B’nei Yisrael out of the captivity
“So let it be written”
“So let it be done”“To kill the first one pharaoh son”– The Egyptians didn’t knew how they could keep the Angel of Death from killing their first born sons – so he killed the pharaoh’s son
“I’m creeping death”
– I’m the Angel of Death

“Now – Let my people go, land of goshen”– Moshe said that to Pharaoh
“Go – I will be with thee, bush of fire”– It is said God spoke to Moses through a burning bush
“Blood – Running red and strong, down the Nile”– It refers to the plague in which the Nile was turned into blood
“Plague – Darkness three days long, hail to fire”– Another plague which should scare the pharoah into letting the B’nei Yisrael go – it was an icy hail that turned to fire and burned people.

“Die by my hand”– Another plague, the Angel of Death announces his arrival …
“I creep across the land…”
– He roams across Egypt’s land “Killing first born man”– To kill every first born man…

“I – Rule the midnite air the destroyer”The Angel of Death as the final plague and the final darkness came at midnight…
“Born – I shall soon be there, deadly mass”
– The Angel of Death announces his arrival …
“I – Creep the steps and floor final darkness”
… and killed the Pharoah’s son after whose death the pharoah released the B’nei Yisrael.
“Blood – Lambs blood painted door, I shall pass”
– The mezuzah will keep the Angel of Death away from their house

Didn’t think you’d learn some Torah from a heavy metal, did ya?


Posted on January 26, 2012, in Divrei Torah and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Bobby Orr-Somayach

    They should have taught it like this back in Eitz Chaim. There would have been less kids in the halls and/or listening to Pop




  3. ‘shkoyach. This is the first metal album I ever bought (and it was vinyl cause it was still the 80s). One of Kirk’s finer early solos! James was raised fundamentalist Christian which probably was a big help when writing the lyrics.


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