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Exodus! When do we get out of Egypt already??

12/19/2021 01:45:02 PM


Rabbi Rudin


Sermons | Park City Gospel Church

If these years of oppression have served any purpose at all, they have increased our longing and our yearning for the redemption of Israel.

Thus wrote Rabbi Kalonymous Kalman Shapiro, the Piasetzna Rebbe, from the indescribable horror of the Warsaw ghetto.  His magnum opus, the Eish Kodesh, Holy Fire, was found concealed in metal milk cannisters buried by the Oneg Shabbat Historical Preservation Society in the last days of the Ghetto.  

Can yearning for something better help?  Is longing a force that can produce change?  

Maybe not by itself.  But without yearning, there is no will for redemption.  And without will, there is no action.  In this week's Torah portion, Exodus, the liberation of Israel doesn't commence with a burning bush or a sea splitting.  It commences like this:

The Children of Israel groaned under the harsh labor and they cried out to G-d.  Their cry rose up before G-d and G-d heard.  Then G-d remembered the Covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. G-d looked upon the Children of Israel and G-d knew their suffering. (Exodus 2:25-28)

The act of crying out, the awareness of suffering and the protest against it and above all else, the spiritual state of yearning sets redemption in motion.  In the very next verse, we hear that G-d called to Moses from the burning bush to begin the incredible saga of the Exodus. 

Had the Israelites remained passive, fatalistic, submissive, all of the Divine love, strength and fury would have never manifested.  It begins with a human tear, a dream, a push back against the walls.  A weak spot appears -- always.  And then a crack forms, light comes in and -- redemption.

Now it seems that once again, the shackles and narrow walls of the pandemic are closing down upon us for a fifth wave.  Covid has become even more infectious.  But our weapons against it have become more powerful.  Vaccines, boosters, therapies.  But above all else, continued commitment to those measures that have been shown to work: masking, social distancing, limiting exposure.  Now is not the time for fatalism or believing that infection is inevitable.  It is not and we must not for one moment allow the pandemic to take root in our souls and will.  The virus might strive to invade the sanctity of the cells of the body -- but the soul must remain inviolate and that requires faith, will, connection to each other and connection to our spiritual center -- to G-d.

In our Torah portion, the children of Israel grow impatient with Moses because the Exodus doesn't come fast enough, because it requires still more will, more faith, more strength.  Moses turns to G-d in despair: Why have You harmed this people?  Why will You not save Your nation?  Why have You sent me on this futile mission?

At that precise point: when human will has reached its limit, G-d responds:

Now you will see what I will do to Pharoah.  For because of a Greater Might he will free Israel.

Only when we have expended our ultimate energy, reached the utmost of our faith, action, prayer and will does G-d suddenly extend a hand and say: You've done your part, my beloved children.  Let Me take it from here. 

Kein Yehi Ratzon -- May it be HaShem's will.. 

Shabbat Shalom 




Sat, May 25 2024 17 Iyyar 5784