Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Bo

Beyond Exodus

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 as the centerpiece of all Jewish history, and the Pesach Seder, which commemorates it, that remains the most observed ritual in Jewish life. So, it is obvious that the Exodus must be about more than just the departure from Egyptian bondage.

When Moshe, at the beginning of his mission, encounters the God of destiny at the burning bush at Sinai, the Lord informs him that his purpose is to bring the people of Israel to Mount Sinai to serve God and to 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 event that would dim and disappear in time, losing its relevance and meaning to later generations. For, it is 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 have 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, are all 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, and 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.

Shabat Shalom.
Rabbi Berel Wein


Text Copyright © 2004 Rabbi Berel Wein and Torah.org.


 

ARTICLES ON KI SISA AND PURIM:

View Complete List

Around the Year With Purim
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

The Vulnerabilty of Emotional Doubt
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

Don't Second Guess G-d
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5757

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Sanctifying Through The Physical
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5759

Esther - True Leadership
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5774

A Cause To Be Effective
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

> The Oil Of Anointing Was Meant To 'Light The Fire' of the Kohanim
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

Moshe's Finest Moment
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5761

Perspectives on Trouble
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Shabbos: A Time to Be…
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Greatest Accolade Given To Mordechai
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

Washing Hands
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

ArtScroll

Terrorist Threat
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5766

Hear Conditioning
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

Forged With Love
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

Stiff Neck
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5765



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