08 April 2016

EXODUS FROM EGYPT IN OUR DAYS

EXODUS FROM EGYPT IN OUR DAYS

“In His goodness, He renews daily, perpetually, the work of Creation!” 
(Morning liturgy)

G-d is continuously, perpetually recreating the universe. This is possibly the most upbeat message in the entire world. No matter how disastrous, catastrophic, absolutely black the current situation, the potential exists that, at the next moment, we will find ourselves in the complete purity of the world as it was at creation, before it was sullied by man’s rebellion.

This is the undying hope of the Torah Nation, the basis of our eternal youth. We have absorbed devastating blows since the dawn of our existence; the miracle is that we are still here and will be here until the end of time. It would seem that our Sages placed these words at the beginning of our daily prayers so that we would be constantly reminded of the certainty of our coming Redemption.

We have come to the month of Nissan, the glorious month of renewal, the month of spring, in which nature returns to life after the death of winter. This is resurrection of the dead, a reminder that – as we will soon say in Chad Gadya – there will come a day when the Angel of Death will himself be destroyed! Death did not exist in the Garden of Eden and death itself will one day be defeated.

This is reality, my friends. The fantasy is the world of lies which surrounds us and obscures our perception of the Existence of the Master of the Universe. We now approach Passover, a holiday which commemorates our salvation from destruction by a nation founded on lies, a nation in which we almost drowned. G-d saved us at the last moment, and those who chose to follow Moses were given the key to Eternal Life.

In order to receive the Torah, not only Egypt itself, but its existence in our psyche had to be obliterated. We could not have our heart in Egypt and receive the Torah at the same time. It became our Divine service to obliterate the lust for Egypt from our hearts. Many of us will spend this Passover in luxurious surroundings, against a backdrop of palm trees swaying on tropical beaches. We have to exert ourselves to remember the reality which this powerful holiday is teaching.

As I write this article, the front-page headline in Yated Ne’eman reads: 
“ISIS versus Europe”.

My friends, when we sit at the Seder, it is vital to focus on the similarity of the Egyptian exile to today’s world. Just as “G-d took us out of Egypt with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm, with great awesomeness and with signs and with wonders,” (Deuteronomy 26:8), so, it seems clear, He will soon take us out of this exile.

“In the end of days, after the Children of Israel have returned to their land, the children of Ishmael and the Children of Esau will unite to attack Jerusalem. They will form a worldwide coalition against the tiny nation of Israel. But something will go wrong with their plan. The religious beliefs of the Children of Ishmael and the Children of Esau will clash, and the two nations will collide and destroy each other. This is what is referred to as the War of Gog and Magog. Following this cataclysmic conflict, the Final Redemption of the Jewish People will occur with the coming of the Messiah” (Malbim on Ezekiel 32:17).

We see it in Europe and in fact around the world; the words of Ezekiel are coming to pass in our own days. It is irrelevant whether we like them or accept them or agree with them; we will not be voting upon this. We must view today’s events with deadly seriousness and incorporate them into the essence of our observance of Passover. Let’s not be so unrealistic as to think the threat of Ishmael is going away without accomplishing what is foretold.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts and My ways are not your ways, the words of G-d. As high as the heavens over the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and snow descend from heaven and will not return there, unless it waters the earth and causes it to produce and sprout, and gives seed to the sower and food to the eater, so shall My word that emanates from My mouth, it shall not return to Me unfulfilled unless it will have accomplished what I desired and brought success where I sent it” 
(Isaiah 55:8-11; Haftara reading on public fast).

In Egypt, the final plague was the death of the firstborn. I want to point out that both Ishmael and Esau are firstborn, Ishmael from Abraham and Esau from Isaac and Rebecca. With the advent of the Final Redemption and the Messiah, it is clear that Ishmael and Esau will cease to rule the world and that their influence will be destroyed forever.

As we sit at the Seder, we should contemplate what is occurring in the world at this very moment and likewise understand the significance of the complete destruction of Egypt, which was the prelude to the acceptance of the Torah and the assumption of our role as “mamleches kohanim v’goy kadosh … a Kingdom of Ministers and a Holy Nation” (Exodus 19:6).

We had better be ready, because it could happen so fast that, unless we are prepared, we will not understand what is occurring. “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the wicked people and all the evildoers will be like straw, and that coming day will burn them up, says G-d, Master of Legions, so that it will not leave them a root or branch. But a sun of righteousness will shine for you who fear My Name, with healing in its rays…” (Malachi 3:19-20).

 May we all be there for that Great Sunrise, soon in our days!

© Copyright 2016 by Roy S. Neuberger

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that beautiful article, once again, from Roy Neuberger who writes the most beautiful, uplifting articles. How fitting now for Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Nissan, two weeks before Pesach! May this year be the year of our Geulah Shleimah, b'rachamim!