By Rabbi Raymond Beyda
" I have carried you on the wings of eagle and brought you to me"
The imagery of an eagle carrying its young was chosen by Hashem to
highlight an important lesson to Jews in all generations. Seforno
explains that an eagle carries its young on its wings not in its claws, as
do other birds. Since an eagle soars above all others there is no need to
clutch its young in its claws in order to protect its young from other
birds of prey. The eagle has the unique position of flying at an altitude
above all other birds allowing it to place its offspring safely on its
shoulders. Similarly, Hashem led the Children of Israel into the barren
desert away from the influence of the decadent and immoral society of
Egypt. This, G-d knew, was the best way to cleanse the people from their
former environs and to prepare them for their new role as the chosen
When one considers the yearlong exposure to the miraculous demonstration
of Hashem's power during the year of the plagues one might wonder why it
was necessary to isolate the Jewish people from the rest of society. One
would be led to believe that they would be impervious to the pernicious
influences of the gentile neighbors and to prepare them for the acceptance
of G-d's book at Sinai.
The lesson of the plagues and the crossing of the sea were obviously not
enough to protect our forefathers from negative impact. Physical isolation
in a barren environment, however, was the right prescription for a healthy
spirit. This complete seclusion prepared our ancestors for the covenant at
Rabbi A. Henach Leibowitz sums up this thought with words written by the
Rambam about 1,000 years ago. If one lives in times when all the
countries of the world are evil, such as in our time...one should seclude
himself." If this is not feasible, continues the Rambam one must leave
civilization and live in the desert.... The Chazon Ish (1871-1953)
suggests that we can find refuge from our environment by frequenting the
bet hamidrash and learning Torah. Besides being literally a sanctuary from
the onslaught of contemporary society, the bet hamidrash is a place to
reinforce us and strengthen our resistance to the spiritual ailments so
rampant in our environment. This has been the secret of Jewish survival
throughout the ages and is as applicable now as it was then"
CONSIDER THIS FOR A MINUTEK
We can't ever get what we want - because we don't ever want what we get.
Text Copyright © 2005 by Rabbi Raymond Beyda and Torah.org.