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  KD MAGAZINE!                      ב"ה     
 

B"H

  Shalom and Bracha!

  This Shabbat we read the portion of Shemot, which describes the beginning of the Egyptian servitude, the birth and rise of Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses), Hashem’s revelation in the burning bush, and the beginning of Moshe’s mission to redeem the Jewish people. The lessons from this portion guide us to the redemption from this exile, may it come speedily.

  The name of the portion, Shemot, means names. Before the servitude, Hashem counted the Jewish people and mentioned them by name, both of which are significant signs of dearness and empowered the Jewish people to endure the exile. According to Jewish law, non kosher items that are counted and accidently get mixed with kosher items do cannot be ignored, even if their ratio is insignificant. This is because by counting, we express the significance of each individual item, rather than its weight or measure. When Hashem counted the children of Israel, He assured that no Jew was insignificant compared to the multitude of Egyptians. Recounting each of names is a sign of both affection and intensification of identity. Before the servitude Hashem proclaimed his love for us and gave us the strength to retain our identity. This is a lesson that in the current exile that Hashem has given each of us the strength to retain our Jewish identity and that He loves and cares for each of us individually. Reflecting thereon, we must be concerned that not a single Jew lose his Jewish identity and respect his unique bond with G-d.

  The Midrash teaches that one of the merits by which the Jews left Egypt is that they retained their Jewish names. Our Hebrew names are a special part of our identity, our unique title which defines our bond with Hashem. Chassidut teaches that the Hebrew name represents the bond of the body and the soul, and that by using our Hebrew names we empower our souls. We see the power of names in the narratives of our patriarchs. Before Sarah could have children, Hashem changed her name. Before the conception of Yitzchak, Hashem changed Avraham’s name.

  When Hashem spoke to Moshe from the burning bush, He said “And now the cries of the Jewish people have come before me and I have seen their torment.” Although Hashem was well aware of the torment the Jewish people suffered under Egyptian slavery, and He had promised the forefathers to redeem the Jewish people from Egypt, Hashem stressed that “I have heard their cries.” This teaches us that we must constantly beseech Hashem for the redemption, until our cries will finally be heard. Until we ask, He doesn’t answer.

  Hashem continued and told Moshe “When you will redeem the people from Egypt, they will serve Hashem upon this mountain.” With these words, Hashem explained to Moshe the true meaning of the Exodus and the core of the Jewish people. The Exodus was not simply emancipation from physical slavery. The Exodus created a people with a unique bond to G-d, a spiritual Exodus which lifted the Jewish people beyond the confines of the mundane world. When we seek Moshiach, we must seek more than physical comfort and freedom. We must seek a world where we can feel the presence of Hashem everywhere and we constantly get closer to Him.

  After Moshe announced the redemption, for a limited time the servitude got worse. To further the confusion, Moshe disappeared. In fact, these were the final preparations for the redemption. This is a powerful lesson. Sometime, we improve our ways expecting immediate blessing from Hashem in response. The delays we experience are for our own good. We must not lose faith when we don’t see expected results.

  As we study the first redemption may we speedily merit the final redemption through Moshiach!

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Biggs

A Project of Chabad of Great Neck

400 East Shore Rd. Great Neck NY 11024

516 4874554       fax 516 4874807


 
   
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