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EXILE AND REDEMPTION

Roy Neuberger - Jan. 04, 2019


The Torah goes at great length into the Egyptian Exile because we have to understand the reality of Exile. The Torah goes at great length into the Redemption through Moses because we have to understand the reality of Redemption.

 

It is vital to understand how Exile and Redemption are connected.

 

They both arrive “b’keref ayin … in the blink of an eye.” Joseph was sold and suddenly the world darkened. Joseph was whisked from prison and suddenly light appeared.

 

The prerequisite to Redemption: we have to feel the pain of Exile. If we don’t feel it, then we will not cry out to Hashem to free us. That pain causes us to beg Hashem to take us out. “The Children of Israel groaned because of the work and they cried out. Their outcry because of the work went up to G-d. G-d heard their moaning and G-d remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. G-d saw the Children of Israel and G-d knew.” (Exodus 2:23-25) This passage immediately precedes the passage in which Moses is summoned to return to Egypt: “An angel of Hashem appeared to him in a blaze of fire from amid the bush.” (Exodus 3:2)

 

Our Redeemer is waiting, but we need to cry out to Hashem.

 

We are dangerously in love with Exile. I am afraid that we just don’t understand our condition. Several weeks ago, “out of nowhere,” a decree was issued by the New York State Department of Education which, in one blow, threatened the future of our entire yeshiva system. The specter of enemies prowling through our holy institutions of Torah with the power to control them was astonishing to us who have enjoyed the tolerant attitude of America for so long.

 

“If the Jewish People repent, they will be redeemed .… If they do not repent, they will not be redeemed? …. Rather, the Holy One, Blessed is He, will appoint a king over them whose decrees will be as harsh [as those of] Haman, and the Jewish People will repent and [in this way G-d] will bring them back to the right [path].” (Sanhedrin 97b)

 

My friends, we have to know, “Halacha hi … It is a law. It is known that Esau hates Jacob ….” (Rashi on Genesis 33:4) What has changed? Has this law been repealed? HHaHNothing has changed, except that we have been lulled by the acceptance we have enjoyed in the lands of the West into thinking that we are at home here.

 

It is Egypt all over again. We are in terrible danger. At any moment a king as cruel as Haman could appear, G-d forbid, and our entire world could be turned upside down. All it takes is the blink of an eye for Haman to appear … or Moshiach to come. We have to cry out to Hashem!

 

Remember a few weeks ago when we read, “Ani Yosef … I am Yosef?” Redemption dawned in an instant! That’s how Moshiach will come. May we see him soon in our days!


 

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