Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Bo

A great military leader is reputed to have once said that the only thing more dangerous than defeat is victory. By that he meant a military or even political victory rarely settles the matter. It only provides an opportunity to the victor to come up with a plan how to best exploit that victory and convert it to a more permanent accomplishment. This point is well made in the entire story of the Exodus that reaches its climax in this week's Torah reading. The fact of the Exodus itself would be sufficient cause for celebration for the generation that experienced deliverance. But, by itself, it would mean little if nothing to later descendants and generations. The Jewish people, exiled and physically defeated many times over in its long history, would hardly commemorate a victory as temporary as the Exodus if it did not lead to a more permanent and lasting triumph. It would be comparable to the Confederate States of America-the South- continuing today to celebrate its victory at First Bull Run! And yet it is the Exodus that remains as the centerpiece of all Jewish history, and the Pesach seder which commemorates it remains the most observed ritual in Jewish life. So, it is obvious that the Exodus must be about more than the departure from Egyptian bondage alone.

When Moshe encounters the God of destiny at the burning bush at Sinai at the beginning of his mission, the Lord informs him that the purpose of his mission is to bring the people of Israel to Mount Sinai, there to serve God and accept the Torah. The Exodus is the necessary preparation for the acceptance of Torah at Sinai. But the Exodus is the means to the end, not the end in itself. The Exodus without Sinai is the First Bull Run. It would have been a temporary and unexploited victory, an even that would dim and disappear in time, losing relevance and meaning to later generations. For only the spirit lasts and gives permanent meaning to physical and temporal occurrences. And for Jews, spirit and spirituality are permanently meaningful only if they are based in Torah and Jewish tradition. Thus the Lord's message to Moshe that when Israel is redeemed they will "worship me at this mountain" is the essence of the entire meaning of the story of the Exodus.

The Jewish people has experienced abysmal defeat and destruction in this, the bloodiest of all human centuries. We have also been witness to great and unpredictable triumphs and successes. We have somehow been able to survive and rebuild ourselves, personally and nationally, after the defeats and destruction. But we have as yet been unable to truly exploit the triumphs and successes of this century. The State of Israel, the crowning Jewish physical achievement of our time, is still embroiled in a conflict for its soul and direction and purpose. This struggle is as important as is the physical struggle to survive and prosper, for without meaning - spiritual, Torah meaning-the Israeli War of Independence and all of the subsequent victories can, God forbid, become as First Bull Run. The test of wills, the search for national meaning, the unexpressed but omnipresent inner disappointment and emptiness of Israeli life, are the underlying causes for the divisiveness and political turmoil that characterize current Israeli life. As of yet, there is no Sinai to give meaning to our modern Exodus. The wondrous Exodus of our time has not as yet been translated into terms- ritual, spiritual, traditional terms- that are truly transmittable to later generations. Only when this goal is finally accomplished will a sense of "normalcy" be achieved in Israeli and Jewish life. And it is this task and goal that is the order of the day for all segments of the Jewish People. By creating Sinai to accompany the Israeli "Exodus" we will be guaranteeing the permanent blessing of the Land of Israel in the lives and hearts of the people of Israel.

Shabbat Shalom.
Rabbi Berel Wein


Text Copyright © 2000 Rabbi Berel Wein and Project Genesis, Inc.



 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

The Hidden Blessing
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5766

Certain Things Noach Did Not Have To Worry About
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5775

Meaningful Speech
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

> Noach Did Not Become Wicked, He Just Became Plain
- 5768

Procreation: Creating Worlds
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

Make it a Habit
Shlomo Katz - 5774

Looking for a Chavrusah?

A Place To Be
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5775

Communication Brings Unity
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

Home Alone
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Making It Perfect
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5763

The Ideal Way of Life
Shlomo Katz - 5768

Flooded With Real Ecstasy
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5774

ArtScroll

The Choosing People
Rabbi Label Lam - 5761

The Sign of the Olive
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

A World is Built!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5762

“Live & Let Live?”
Jon Erlbaum - 0



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information