April 18, 2024
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The Redemption From Egypt and Our Personal Redemption

One of the main characteristics of the redemption from Egypt is the haste: “This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly: it is a Passover offering to the Lord” (Shemot 12:11).

What is the meaning of this haste? Why is it emphasized as the central characteristic of the Exodus?

Haste expresses something which does not occur through a slow and gradual process. Process represents nature, but haste represents what is above nature. Therefore, the Exodus, which was a Divine, supernatural process, occurred hastily; that is why God passes over the houses and why matzah is made quickly.

However, this understanding of the meaning of Israel’s redemption raises a question, in light of the words of the prophet Yeshayahu: “For you will not depart in haste, nor will you leave in flight; for the Lord is marching before you” (Yeshayahu 52:12).

Chazal in the Mechilta (Bo, 7:42) attributed these verses to the future redemption. This difference between the redemption from Egypt and the future redemption is discussed by the Maharal and Rav Kook, who explain that specifically the future redemption—the redemption of process, not haste—is greater. Why?

The meaning of haste is that the redemption is supernatural; not suitable for the actions of this world. Therefore, the world fails to absorb the power, the Divine message, of the redemption, so its influence over the world is partial.

The future redemption is a redemption of process; a redemption that is built slowly, step by step. This redemption stems from human attainment and occurs naturally, in such a way that the world can internalize and absorb its light. There was a necessity for a supernatural redemption from Egypt, in order to bring power to the world which would otherwise be inaccessible naturally. Now, our role is to slowly internalize redemption within the frame of nature. That is why this redemption succeeds in actualizing the Divine message, to turn natural reality into Godliness.

Natural redemption is accompanied by difficulties and obstacles. However, the difficulties and obstacles do not teach how small the redemption is; just the opposite. The difficulties teach redemption’s connection with reality and the struggle to influence and enlighten the world.

Therefore, in describing the future redemption, Chazal did not search for miraculous or supernatural descriptions; they described it naturally.

In Masechet Sanhedrin (98a) Chazal state that there is no greater sign that the redemption has arrived than when Israel’s trees give forth fruit. The normal life of Jews in Israel and the blossoming of the Land are sure signs of redemption. The advancements, developments and perfections built gradually are the true signs of the future redemption.

The stories of Israel before the pioneers arrived are of an Israel where the gentiles were unable to grow anything until the Jews arrived and succeeded, baruch Hashem, in making the wilderness bloom. These kinds of stories exist in our days as well.

When they still lived there, I asked the farmers in Gush Katif (who we’ve helped through the JobKatif project) how the greenhouses were doing. They told me that their Arab workers who worked in the greenhouses called them every few days to cry that they themselves were unable to grow anything. This is a clear sign that Chazal gave us for the future redemption—Eretz Yisrael blossoms only for Am Yisrael.

We must be happy and give thanks that, Baruch Hashem, we have merited to be part of this great and wondrous process, to see with our own eyes the progress of the process of redemption. We must remember that even the difficulties are an expression of the greatness of our redemption, and pray that we merit its entirety soon.


Rav Yosef Zvi Rimon is founder and chairman of Sulamot, and serves as rosh yeshiva of Lev Academic Center (JCT) and rabbi of Alon Shvut South. He is the head of World Mizrachi’s educational advisory board and a member of Mizrachi’s Speakers Bureau ( www.mizrachi.org/speakers ).

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