Take it Seriously
By Roy S. Neuberger
We stand before the Fateful Day, the Beginning of the Year, the First of the Yomim Tovim.
The Mighty Pesach draws near!
I want to ask: why do we refer so often to Yetzias Mitzraim? Twice a day in the Shema. Every Shabbos and Yom Tov Night during Kiddush we say “zaicher l’tzias Mitzraim.” Why the constant emphasis on an event which took place millennia in the past?
My friends, this is so big that I feel the universe cannot contain it.
The subject of Mitzraim is so huge!
I must ask mechila, but I really do not think we begin to understand how big it is. I have mentioned this often, but now – with your permission (because you can always stop reading right here) – I am going to try to be more explicit about this.
What is so big about Yetzias Mitzraim?
We as a Nation were almost completely assimilated in Mitzraim. Then Hashem decided it was time to extricate our ancestors from that spiritual cesspool because He was about to give us His Torah. We had to be separated from impurity to receive it, but we were not able to extricate ourselves because we were up to our nostrils in the pollution, holding at mem-tes shaare tumah. Therefore, Hashem had to destroy – I repeat: “destroy” – that nation in order to enable His Children to free themselves from the tumah in order to ascend to Har Sinai.
“Ma’ase avos siman l’banim.” Or, to put it another way, in the words of Rabbi Elchonen Wasserman zt”l, “Several times I heard from the holy Chofetz Chaim that we can learn about the end of our exile from what happened … in Egypt….” (Quoted in Redemption Unfolding)
What this seems to teach us is that the end of our own contemporary Exile will replicate events in Biblical Mitzraim. In other words, Hashem will desire once again to give us the Torah, but we may once again be submerged in a powerful foreign culture. That means that Hashem may once again have to do what He did then, namely, destroy that culture so that there is nothing left for His Children to cling to which will prevent us from embracing His Torah “with all our heart and all our souls and all our resources.”
This may mean that the entire world and culture and society in which almost all Jews live today, whether it is the Western World or the Islamic World, may be destroyed so that we are forced to detach ourselves from it, the way our ancestors were forcibly detached from Mitzraim.
I do not think that we are understanding this. It is a huge thing to process, but if in fact it happens – and I am not “advocating” anything; I am just reporting what may be happening – then every single person’s life will hang in the balance and the only determinant of whether we survive will be whether we are loyal to Hashem, just as the only Jews who survived in Biblical Mitzraim were those who were loyal to the Mission of Moshe Rabbeinu.
I must say that the collapse of the surrounding civilization does not look at this point as if it is such a far-fetched possibility. As I write, attacks have taken place in London next to the Houses of Parliament and at Orly Airport near Paris. North Korea threatens the U. S. and Syria threatens Israel. Intensely dangerous confrontations are now commonplace, and madmen are everywhere with their fingers on all kinds of triggers.
We are reading cosmically powerful Torah this Shabbos. The Novi says,
“Behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven. All the wanton ones and all the evildoers will be stubble, and the coming day will set them ablaze, says Hashem, Master of Legions. It will leave them no root or branch.” (Malachi Hanovi 3:19, Haftaras Hagadol)
Doesn’t that tell us something? Doesn’t that tell us that we should take seriously the possibility that the entire society in which we live is in danger of the same fate as Biblical Mitzraim …. that Hashem is going to reveal Himself once more to the entire world as He did at Har Sinai … and that we must make a choice whether we want to be with Hashem or – l’havdil elef havdallas – go down with the sinking ship of sheker which surrounds us?
The Novi also says,
“Those who fear Hashem spoke to one another and Hashem listened and heard. It was inscribed before Him in a book of remembrance of those who fear Hashem and meditate upon His Name … and I shall have compassion on them as a man has compassion on his son who serves him.” (ibid 3:16)
That, my friends, is what I mean by taking Mitzraim seriously. It is all happening before our eyes; the reality of the Torah is opening like a giant pageant in front of us. Soon, Hashem in His compassion will send a leader to take us out of this burning world into a world of Torah, Truth and Justice.
“For you that revere My Name, a sun of righteousness will shine forth, with healing on its wings, and you shall go forth and prosper like fatted calves. You will trample the wicked, for they will be like dust under the soles of your feet, on the day that I prepare, says Hashem, Master of Legions…. Behold: I send you Eliahu Hanovi, before the Great and Awesome Day of Hashem. He shall restore the heart of fathers to children and the heart of children to their fathers .…” (ibid 3:20)
This year, may we all see the Rebuilt Yerushalayim!
* * * *
Roy Neuberger, author and public speaker, can be reached at email@example.com.
© Copyright 2017 by Roy S. Neuberger