Finding Personal Redemption
By Rabbanit Chamutal Shoval, OTS Amiel BaKehila Community Educator – North America, and Fellow in the Susi Bradfield Women’s Institute of Halakhic Leadership
“In every generation, a person is obligated to view himself as if he had left Egypt.” (Passover Haggadah)
For years I have thought about this sentence, and I never fully understood it. Perhaps this year – I understand it just a little bit better.
Thank God, I did not grow up in servitude, and I did not suffer bitterness. Yet, the Exodus from Egypt is also connected to an abandonment of habituation, and to the ability to leave the current for the unknown. It teaches us to look forward and advance, even if we cannot see the horizon.
During its subjugation in Egypt, the Nation of Israel certainly did not have it easy, yet it knew to what servitude it awoke each morning. The people recognized and knew their oppressors, the order of their days – and grew accustomed to what there was. The Exodus from Egypt required that they leave for the desert – to the unknown.
The Grand Rebbe of Gur writes in S’fat Emet:
“And I will take them out, and I will save them, and I will take them…” We have seen [from Scripture] that the Divine will was that we should know that the Holy One Blessed be He has taken us out of Egypt, and for this reason we must always remember the Exodus. In reality, each person in Israel has, at all times, a personal Egypt. For this reason, we must remember the Exodus each day, and according to our intellect that the Holy One redeemed us – and this does not necessarily refer to physical subjugation. For when a person forgets this fact and his pride causes him to think that “My power and the might of my hand”…and then He must cause a person to undergo suffering, so that he should see that all is from the Blessed Holy One…
Sometimes we feel sure that all is in our hands, that we control everything. Over the past few weeks we have seen that this is not at all the case. A small, terrible virus has cofounded the entire world, shut us all in our homes, cancelled all of our plans, and overturned our world. Specifically in this time of uncertainty, all that is left for us to do is to have faith in the Holy One blessed be He, that He will redeem each of us in our own personal Exodus from Egypt.
May we celebrate together next year in Jerusalem – and be blessed to celebrate with family and friends according to our wishes!