Vol 11.01 - Shmot 1                                               Spanish French Audio  Video

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"I will be that what I will be refers to individual Jews. But to many Jews, I will reign over them against their will" (Sh. Rab 3:6). At the redemtion from Egypt - the level of "son" - not all Jews were redeemed; At the Future Redemption - after the choice of Matan Torah - all Yisroel will be redeemed. (5736)

On the verse "G-d said to Moses, I will be that which I will be”, the Midrash comments:  “Rabbi Yochanan says:  “I will be that which I will be” refers to individual Jews. But to many Jews, against their will , will I reign over them. As it says: "I live - the word of the L-rd G-d! With a mighty hand ... I will rule over you "
  1. The commentators explain the Midrash as follows. "…which I will be" implies that G-d  is saying: “ I will not rule forcibly, but only over those  for whom I will be G-d out of  their free will and volition. If someone does not want to accept my authority, his has a right to refuse. “ All this is said regarding “individual" Jews,  whereas  the "many" Jews do not have that option. And even if  they “do decide  to leave me, I will reign over them forcibly.”  This is the reason for the liberation of the Jewish people from Egypt (despite the fact that among the Jews there were many evildoers).

    It is clear from the foregoing that, although the prophecy of Ezekiel "... with a mighty hand ... I will be King over you" refers to various liberations of Jews starting from Ezekiel’s times through the ultimate redemption, it contains a hint at what had happened much earlier, i.e. the Exodus from Egypt since, on the whole, G-d freed the Jewish people with a " strong hand ", i.e. forcibly, yet this did not affect  individual Jews. It’s known that the sinners who did not want to go out of Egypt, as we know from the Midrash, died during the three days of  the Plague of Darkness that struck Egypt.

    2. At first glance, one may draw the conclusion that just as the Midrash explains liberation from Egypt based on Ezekiel's prophecy, so too one can understand how the future liberation will take place, based on the specifics of the liberation from Egypt.  It would then be appropriate to treat Ezekiel’s prophecy regarding the future liberation as relevant to the nation as a whole and not to each Jew individually.

    Moreover, although the Torah promises:  “And you will return to the LORD your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the LORD your Godwill restore your fortunes and have compassion on you, and He willgather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you. “(Deuteronomy 30:2-3), i.e.  "the Jews will return to the Almighty at the end of their exile and will be immediately redeemed " (Rambam, Laws of Repentance, 7:5), nevertheless these words can be interpreted as addressed to the people as a whole, and not necessarily to every Jew individually.

    In fact, this explanation is incorrect. Rashi comments on the words of the Torah "and the L-rd, your G-d,  will return you from your expulsion  ..." as follows: "... Great and awesome is the day of the ingathering of the exiles as if He personally would have to take each one out of his place, as it is written : "... And you will be collected one by one, the children of Israel" (Isaiah, 27:12). " Indeed, the promise of redemption is given in the Torah as a consequence of the fact that "you will come back to the L-rd, your G-d", and every Jew will need to return. Also the Alter Rebbe  writes that "every Jew, no doubt, will eventually return ... because G-d will not despise the exiles "(Tanya, ch. 39).

    This rule applies to all Jewish sinners, including those who do not want to leave the exile. All of them will be aroused by G-d to repent, G-d will then free them. We have a confirmation of this in Isaiah (27:13): "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.", i.e. even those who have gotten used to the exile to the extent that they are  in a state of being "outcast" and "perished" and it looks  to them that they would never get out of it, even they will be awaken to repentance and ultimately to gather and “worship ... G-d on the holy mountain in Jerusalem ".
3. The verse in the Passover Haggadah " Were he the wicked son there in the Egyptian slavery, he would not be freed", has been frequently debated. At first glance, it is unclear how useful it is to discuss something that has no direct bearing on the Seder or on the memory of the liberation from Egypt?  The explanation is as follows: these words are not meant to distance the wicked son or to inform him that the liberation is not for him. Rather, the verse emphasizes that only "there in Egypt, he would not have been freed”, but the ultimate liberation will occur after the giving of the Torah and therefore he will also be freed! Of course, such words arouse interest in the miraculous effects of the giving of the Torah. This is so because from the moment that G-d said at Sinai "I am the L-rd, your G-d", addressing each Jew individually ( "your" - in the singular), the L-rd became the strength and vitality of every Jew. Therefore, every Jew, including the very wicked, is destined to eventually be redeemed.

4. However, a few points must be clarified.  In this week's chapter is written: "And you will say to the Pharaoh:" Thus saith the L-rd: My son, my firstborn - Israel. And I said to you: Let my son go ... "(Shemot, 4:22-23). From this we see that the cause of the liberation of Jews from Egypt is the relationship between G-d -- "our Father" and Jews, referred to "sons of G-d". It turns out that every Jew in Egypt, including the most insignificant, fell under the definition of "my son, my firstborn - Israel.  A father-son relationship is part of their (the Jewish people’s) nature. The relationship is immutable, not subject to change or disappearance, as is says: "In any case, you are called his sons" (Kiddushin, 36a), and because " I can not exchange you for some other nation" (Midrash Rabba, Ruth 3). If that’s the case, then why were not all Jews redeemed during the Exodus from Egypt? During the Egyptian bondage, the Jews were involved in various sins, including even such serious ones as idolatry. The Sages say that "an idol, made by Michah, passed through the sea along with them"  (Sanedrin, 103b).   And if such Jews deserved redemption, then why were not redeemed those whose only infraction was not wanting  to leave Egypt?

5. To understand this, one must understand one of the issues associated with the purification of sins on Yom Kippur. According to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, Yom Kippur redeems all sins, regardless of whether a person has repented or not. However he does agree with other Sages that for the sins of violating Yom Kippur itself (breaking the fast or engaging in the activities prohibited on Yom Kippur), Yom Kippur  does not atone.  At first glance, this is surprising: if Yom Kippur atones for all sins, including the most serious ones, why can it not atone for violating  the day itself?

The Rogachev Gaon explains that when Yom Kippur itself is the cause of a given sin, it becomes impossible to make up for it,  because a prosecutor (Yom Kippur) cannot simultaneously act as a defender.

Chassidic teachings explain that on
Yom Kippur every Jew reveals the true bond of his soul with the Creator and on the strength of this revelation sins are forgiven. But if a sin is blocking the revelation  of this fundamental relationship with G-d (as is the case when a prohibition having to do with Yom Kippur is breached on Yom Kippur itself), the rectification of such a sin becomes impossible (until , presumably, the following Yom Kippur).

We now return to our question. The desire of the Jews to leave Egypt was a result of the revelation of the bond between G-d ( "our Father") with the Jews ( "sons of G-d").  Since this relationship, like the connection between father and son, is essential and immutable, then it would imply the freeing of all Jews, including the sinners as well since all are "the sons of G-d". Those sinners who refused to come out of slavery, agreed to be "slaves of slaves" (Rashi’s coment on Shemot, 20:2), which contradicts the word of God, "For the people of Israel belong to me. They are my servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God." (Leviticus 25:55) and "My Son, my firstborn – Israel”. Thus, they opposed the revelation of this connection with G-d .
6. However, the following it is still unclear. If the desire to remain in exile was at odds with the bond between G-d and the Jews which existed even before the giving of the Torah ( "My son, my firstborn - Israel"), then such a desire is also present following the giving of the Torah which lead to a unique unity of God with the Jews, paving the way to the future redemption ( "I am the L-rd, your G-d" - your strength and your vitality).

There is an interesting point to this new relationship between God and the Jews, (post-the Sinai Revelation) vis-à-vis  the future redemption of all Jews. The future redemption will include even those who will not want to leave the present exile, but will be redeemed nevertheless  despite their outward  resistance to reveal their bond with God. This is expressed in the words "I am the L -rd, your G-d "- signifying the bond being the source of the future redemption, as is explained above.

The reason for this difference is as follows. Since the relationship of the Jews as "sons of G-d" with G-d in times of slavery in Egypt remained in their natural state, they were able to resist it by force of their strong-willed free choice. This choice comes from the very essence of man, which is above its natural limitations. And therefore the relationship between God and the Jewish people, affecting only the natural qualities of the Jews, was not sufficient for the redemption of all Jews from Egypt.

The choosing of the Jewish people by God creates a qualitatively new relationship which comes from the very essence of the Creator. Following this choice, no Jew is capable of hindering this bond because through it , the Jew is tied to the Creator , the Jew’s outward behavior notwithstanding (i.e. his seeming unwillingness (which is contrary to his essence) to leave Exile). Due to this connection, every Jew is intrinsically linked with G-d. Moreover, nothing can interfere with this bond, since a Jew ‘s being chosen by G-d, places him/her outside the bounds of nature. In that light, a Jew’s unwillingness to leave the Exile is contrary to the true essence of his choice. Therefore, when in the end, there will be revealed the true choice of every Jew, and he will choose  G-d as his portion and destiny,  this will be clear and obvious to all, then "the Jews each and every one will return to the Almighty at the end of their exile and will be immediately redeemed.




 Date Delivered:  12/28/09 Reviewer:       
Date Modified:   12/24/09 Date Reviewed:  
Contributor:  Y.V