Bo - Looking Up

When Hashem explains to Moshe and Aharon about the 10th plague, he tells them to convey to the Jewish people the proper way to be prepared for this plague.
And they shall take [some] of the blood and put it on the TWO DOORPOSTS and ON THE LINTEL, on the houses in which they will eat it.
Shmot 12:7
Yet when Moshe calls the elders together to actually explain to them what Hashem had told him. Moshe says this over slightly different.
And you shall take a bunch of hyssop and immerse [it] in the blood that is in the basin, and you shall extend TO THE LINTEL and TO THE TWO DOORPOSTS the blood that is in the basin, and you shall not go out, any man from the entrance of his house until morning.
Shmot 12:22
In presenting the instructions for the Jewish people to carry out, Moshe changes the order for how the blood should be applied to the doorway.

Says the Baal HaTurim in regards to the change of order from the earlier verse to Moshe's version, he explains this as showing that the order really doesn't matter. No matter which order you put the blood on the doorway, you will have fulfilled your obligation.

Symbol of the Doorway
Says the Kli Yakar, by way of Midrash, we can see the deeper meaning in all the elements of the doorway. As the midrash Eicha Rabbah relates, this is like HaKodesh Baruch Hu appealing to the Jewish people.
From the days of your fathers you have departed from My laws and have not kept [them]. "Return to Me, and I will return to you," said the Lord of Hosts, but you said, "With what have we to return?"
Malachi 3:7
And the midrash continues, saying, "...rather You should return first." The midrash rests upon the following verse:
Restore us to You, O Lord, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old.
Eicha 5:21
The Kli Yakar establishes that from the point of view of the Jewish people, Hashem provides the power and strength to change our ways, and come back to him.

The Lintel
Based on this interpretation, the Lintel, the singular element in the doorway, serves to represent Hashem, positioned across the top. This is found the following verses.
For He has looked down from His holy HEIGHT; the Lord LOOKED FROM HEAVEN to earth,
Tehillim 102:20
The Doorposts
The two doorposts literally support the lintel, across the top. The lintel symbolizes Hashem looking down, so who supports Hashem? The merit of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs. We see this in the verse:
which are the abode for the God Who precedes all, and BELOW ARE THE MIGHTY ONES OF THE WORLD. He expelled the enemy from before you, and said, 'Destroy!'
Dvarim 33:27
Who are the mighty ones of the world, who is deserving of this accolade? The Patriarchs are part of the infrastructure that form the foundations for Judaism, and our relationship with Hashem. That is why when Hashem gives over the instructions to Moshe, He imparts honor to the Patriarchs and lists The Doorposts before the Lintel. That is to say that righteous ones, they are the Patriarchs and the Matriarchs.

The Source of Power
However Moshe changed the order. Why? This goes along with what the verse says in Malachi. At this stage of the Exodus, the Jewish people are at their weakest - spiritually and physically. Moshe turns his pleas heavenwards, engaging Hashem to impart strength to the Jewish people.

The Divine Relationship
Continues the Kli Yakar, saying, this helps to explain the Rashi in Shir HaShirim.
How fair are your feet in sandals, O daughter of nobles! The curves of your thighs are like jewels, the handiwork of a CRAFTSMAN.
Shir HaShirim 7:2
Says Rashi on the word "craftsman":
The Hebrew word for "craftsman" is "אוּמָן"  which is like the word "אֳמָן". We say the word  "אֳמָן" in order to show praise of the Holy One, blessed be He, the Israelites praise Him from TOP to BOTTOM. They commence, so to speak, from “His head is as finest gold,” and progressively descend to “His legs are as pillars of marble,” since they come to appease Him, to draw DOWN His Shechinah from the HEAVENLY ABODES to the EARTHLY ABODES. He, however, counts their praises from BOTTOM to TOP: “How fair are your feet!” and He progressively counts until, “Your head upon you is like Carmel,” until He comes to draw them to Him.
 The Jewish people  relate to Hashem from the heights down to our level, looking up to gain strength. While Hashem relates to the Jewish people from the lowest to high, bringing the Jewish people up to Him.

That is why Hashem instructs Moshe to start with the doorposts and then the lintel, for Hashem to show that His glory starts from where the Jewish People are and rises up to Him. The righteous add power and heroism   to the heights.

Likewise, in respect to Hashem, Moshe precedes the lintel to the doorposts, to show that for us the glory comes down to us from above.

Vayachi - The Challenge of this World

The parshah opens with:
And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt for seventeen years, and Jacob's days, the years of his life, were a hundred and forty seven years.
Breisheit 47:28
Asks the Netivot Shalom, why does the verse have to specify that Jacob lived in the land of Egypt for 17 years, and then state his age? The number of years he spent in Egypt could be deduced based on the age we learned earlier from when he arrived in Egypt.

Descending into Egypt
To consider this question, the Netivot Shalom raises another issue. Why did Yaacov have to go down to Egypt at all? We see that different patriarchs and matriarchs go down to Egypt. Avraham and Sarah go to Egypt. Yoseph spent most of his life in Egypt. Then Yaacov came down to Egypt.

This plays a key role in paving the way for the People of Israel to eventually to come down to Egypt. Their holy presence in Egypt is meant to transmit holy sparks and infuse the atmosphere of Egypt with a holiness that was not previously present. This is meant to create the foundations for an environment to enable the People of Israel to survive their time in Egypt.

The Power of 17
Yet this doesn't address the main question. Why does the Torah have to stipulate that Yaacov was in Egypt for 17 years?  The Netivot Shalom continues and says that this figure is critical. The gematria of 17 is:
ט ו ב
2 + 6 + 9 = 17

What is this? This is good (טוב). Good is the act of conquering (or correcting) a certain character trait. Good is the opposite of Bad (רע), and of the course the component that is the evil force confronting us is the Yetzer HaRah (יצר הרע).

Why Egypt?
Yet, the Netivot Shalom explains, in order to understand this perspective, we need to understand why the People of Israel went down to Egypt.

In the covenant between Avraham and G-d, there is a warning that Avraham's descendents will suffer. However the exact place is not specified.
And He said to Abram, "You shall surely know that your seed will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and they will enslave them and oppress them, for four hundred years.
Breisheit 15:13
The land is not specified. So now that we see in fact that the land alluded to will be Egypt. Then why Egypt? What is unique about Egypt to qualify it as this land?

Egypt is the epitome of impurity. It is a place filled with abominations. This is the worst place that the Jewish people could be sent. Since this is the case, the patriarchs and matriarchs needed to lessen the intensity of this impure environment, and infuse it with some level of holiness.

The Morale of the Descent to Egypt
Yaacov going down to Egypt can be seen as a metaphor for the life experience. Yaacov sitting in the promised land, is that place on high where souls are hewn. Then the soul comes down, into this world. Our world is imperfect, and filled with destructive, elements. So like the patriarchs and matriarchs raising up the sparks in Egypt and adding some holiness. We need to work on our souls in the same way in this world