web analytics
August 4, 2015 / 19 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Is There A Shortcut To Redemption?

Steinsaltz-032913

Pesach, the Hebrew name for Passover, appears first in the context of the ten plagues, in which God passed over the homes of the Israelites while the rest of Egypt suffered.

On a deeper level, the Passover festival is based on this idea of passing or skipping over the regular order of things. The Jews did not leave Egypt as part of an evolutionary process. Their departure was a leap, a shortcut.

While the exodus was a move from slavery to freedom, it was also a transition from oppression to redemption. From beginning to end, the Passover redemption is a leap over an orderly, consistent historical course into a new and better state and a much higher level of existence.

The Israelites were not just enslaved. They had become slaves in their mindset, their world-view and their sense of personal self-worth. While the sons of Jacob and their families surely had a spiritual and religious legacy, it was not well defined and had no specific rites; thus the legacy was practically non-existent.

Possibly the Israelites did retain some elements of their past, but they surely became more and more assimilated into Egyptian culture and its atmosphere. The exodus from Egypt, then, called for a very profound change in the entire psyche and social makeup of the Jewish people.

The act of releasing a slave – one who was born into bondage and with an entire life spent obeying orders – calls for a thoroughgoing personality change. Those who came out of Egypt were immersed in the lowest levels of Egyptian culture. They had to detach themselves completely from their old life and acquire a new set of concepts.

All the slips and failures of the Israelites during their wanderings in the desert are therefore understandable. Yet despite all these personal, social and cultural impediments, this broken nation successfully became a new national entity and began taking a new path.

The prophet Ezekiel compares the Jewish nation that is redeemed from Egypt to a poor girl, saying (Ezekiel 16:6-7): “And…I passed by thee, and saw thee wallowing in thy blood, I said unto thee: In thy blood, live; yea, I said unto thee: In thy blood, live…yet you were naked and bare.”

Thus, over and above all the miracles of the Exodus, the greatest miracle of all is that Jewish people did indeed come out of Egypt and became a nation. The entire Exodus represents a quick leap into redemption, passing over the life of slavery that had lasted for hundreds of years.

There is a great lesson here for every individual in every generation: everyone can “pass over,” make a leap. People can, even by the power of their own decision, make transitions that are not gradual but almost revolutionary. The “passing over” of Passover teaches us that such a jump is possible and inspires us to do so.

Passover represents the promise that we will indeed be able to leap over the multitude of small and big obstacles in our path and reach a better, more perfect state of things, both physically and spiritually.

About the Author: Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz is a world-renowned scholar who has authored more than 60 books and hundreds of articles on Torah.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Is There A Shortcut To Redemption?”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Tourist injured by Muslim mob on Temple Mount on August 4, 2015
Rumor: Police Arrest 6 Muslim Waqf Officials Suspected of Attacking, Robbing French Tourist on Temple Mount
Latest Indepth Stories
President  Barack Obama.

How and when is it appropriate for pulpit rabbis to comment publicly on the Iran issue?

David Menachem Gordon

David was many things: Brother, son, grandson, nephew, uncle, cousin, talmid, comrade, AND a WARRIOR

Graffiti at Duma home that was torched in Samara.

Some Israelis seem to have forgotten no one has yet tracked down the murderers of Ali Bawabsheh.

On-The-Bookshelf-logo

Aside from my own 485-page tome on the subject, Red Army, I think Jamie Glazov did an excellent job at framing things in United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror.

“Isn’t it enough that the whole world hates us? WHy do we have to hate each other?”

Who said Kerry won no concessions from Iran? He secured pistachios and Beluga caviar for America!

In 2015, Israel’s fertility rate (3+ births per woman) is higher than all Arab countries except 3

The New Israel Fund, as usual, condemns the State of Israel rather than condemning a horrible act.

I sought a Muslim group that claims to preach a peaceful and accepting posture of Islam, Ahmadiyya

While Orthodox men are encouraged to achieve and celebrated for it, Orthodox women too often are not

Jonathan remember, as long as you’re denied your right to come home to Israel you’re still in prison

Reports of a dead baby, a devastated family, and indications of a gloating attacker.

“The fear of being exposed publicly is the only thing that will stop people,” observed Seewald.

“Yesha” and Binyamin Regional Council leaders said the attack “is not the path of Jews in Judea and Samaria.”

The occasion? The rarely performed mitzvah of pidyon peter chamor: Redemption of a firstborn donkey.

American leftists have a pathological self-inflicted blindness to the dangers of political Islam

More Articles from Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
Steinsaltz-032913

Pesach, the Hebrew name for Passover, appears first in the context of the ten plagues, in which God passed over the homes of the Israelites while the rest of Egypt suffered.

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

The start of the Jewish New Year, the month of Tishrei, is filled with holy days, among them four foundational celebrations: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simchat Torah-Shemini Atzeret.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/is-there-a-shortcut-to-redemption/2013/03/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: