Hashem explains to Moshe that he is going to bring his people , as “a people” out of the Egyptian bondage. Hashem could have simply said that “I will bring my children out of Egypt”. Instead Hashem uses four expressions to describe this process. A process that in of itself will eventually bring about the fifth declaration of G-d’s purpose.
“Therefore, say to the children of Israel, ‘I am Hashem, and I will take you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will save you from their labor, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. And I will take you to Me as a people, and I will be a G-d to you, and you will know that I am Hashem your G-d, Who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you to the land, concerning which I raised My hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, and I will give it to you as a heritage; I am Hashem.’ “( Exodus 6:6-8)
What is true of our people’s redemption from the clutches of Egyptian slavery is as true for each one of us as individuals in our escape from our own spiritual bondage. The Hebrew word for Egypt Mitzrayim is connected to the Hebrew word for “constraints” Maitzarim. The reality of our existence necessitates every one of us to struggle through our own private Exodus to achieve the freedom to choose , live and grow.
As a people, we have seen throughout our history how the bondage to exile and to the masters of exile has stymied our growth and potential as a people. After thousands of years of persecution in the many and varied exiles the people have developed conditions and neuroses very similar to victims of abuse. At times, they have begun to blame themselves for the hatred that they have experienced hurled against them. At other times, they have begun to assume that if they would adopt more universal ideals and become more connected to the greater whole they would cease to be persecuted. As a result of such a desire they have eschewed uniqueness and national identity for the safe anonymity of “sameness” and political correctness.
There is an even darker side to the phenomenon. Throughout history, some of the greatest enemies of the Jewish people have been Jews who so wanted to identify with the world that the result was a deep hatred within themselves for Judaism and Jewish destiny. Some of the greatest persecutors of the Jewish people have been people of Jewish descent.
As a result Hashem describes the process that would bring about true freedom of expression and identity.
The first statement “and I will take you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, “is necessarily the first step. In order to begin the process one needs to be taken out of or to take oneself out from under the burden of fear and unworthiness experienced beneath the yoke of the oppressor. One can never find one’s purpose and destiny if the limitless heavens are hidden from view.
The second statement “and I will save you from their labor” is next. When caught up in the daily grind of what is expected of us to do, we become enslaved .The taskmasters of Egypt were no crueler than the taskmasters of our societies that burden us with their ideals of what is expected of life to achieve “happiness” and fulfilment. When imprisoned in the clutches of the daily grind of labor and societal expectations, we lose the ability to dream and to be passionate about intrinsic truths.
The third statement “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments” necessarily involves a more complicated set of Divine intervention. There are times when Hashem very clearly and resolutely intervenes in the process of history. He is always there but at times His involvement is so clear to the eye.
That was true of the Exodus, and the events around Purim and Chanukah. It was evident as well with the formation and flourishing of the modern state of Israel. It is also true in our individual lives and journeys, and is evident if if we spend the time to explore those events. Our responsibility then is to acknowledge and to recognize the hand of the Almighty in our corporate and individual lives.
That is the key to understanding the concept of redemption or Geulah(“I will redeem you”) . The Hebrew word for exile, Golah, shares the same letters as the Hebrew word for redemption, Geula, with one added letter.The word Geula is comprised of an extra letter-an Aleph. The Aleph in Torah thinking represents G-d, Alufo shel olam (“the Master of the world”).
What then is the difference between exile and redemption? It is the added Aleph. It is an Aleph which represents not only His Presence but more importantly our awareness and, our consciousness of that Presence. Thus we become redeemed.
Therefore, It is with that unshackling of our fears, eliminating our subservience and increasing our awareness of G-d’s ever-present involvement that enables us to enter into the fourth phase ” And I will take you to Me as a people, and I will be a G-d to you, and you will know that I am Hashem your G-d” Relationship with the Infinite Holy One Blessed is He.
With those four steps in place and the resulting ever deepening relationship with the Divine that results the people or the individual can move into the promise. It is only then that that they will eventually arrive into their destiny and their purpose
:”I will bring you to the land, concerning which I raised My hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, and I will give it to you as a heritage; I am Hashem.”
LeRefuat Yehudit bat Golda Yocheved