Latest update: April 26th, 2013
“Our labor,” this refers to the “children,” as it is said: “Every boy that is born, you shall throw into the river and every girl you shall keep alive.”
“And our oppression,” this refers to the pressure, as it is said: “I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.”
And the result of their cries – “The L-rd took us out of Egypt.”
Please note that the people cried out to Hashem – it does not say they accepted.
Should we not emulate their precedent, they who were just a few scant generations removed from our illustrious and pious ancestors, Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov?
For some time, they must have taken their intense suffering in stride, as they were enslaved for centuries, but at some point it must have been too overwhelming and they cried out.
And then there is Amram, a grandson of Levi, who decided that the husbands of Israel should divorce their wives in order to prevent the birth of a new generation of Jews. Conditions were so horrendous and unbearable in Egypt, that Amram, the gadol of his generation – who must have known that the primary mitzvah in the yet to be given Torah was pru u’revu – be fruitful and multiply – planned on exhorting the Israelites to not bring children into the horrific existence they found themselves in.
He himself set an example by divorcing his wife.
One would think that as a pious, G-d fearing Yid, Amram would have just unquestionably accepted Hashem’s will, declaring that all Hashem does is for the best – and would have encouraged the nation to have bitachon in Hashem, and keep on building families.
But Amram did not meekly accept what seemingly was Hashem’s will. His attitude was, “Let’s not bring vulnerable, innocent children into a world where they likely will be brutalized or annihilated (the boys). His mindset was not blind obedience, but rather dayenu – enough. And to my knowledge, Amram was never regarded as an apikorus for wanting to defy the status quo, as opposed to saying, “Gam zu le ‘tova!”
The descendants of Yaakov also had enough – and they had what some in our community would consider the temerity and audacity to cry out to G-d; they would be labeled chuzpadik for questioning their lot in life and complaining and screaming.
As it says, “vayizaku”
From the words of the Haggadah, there is a potential lesson to be learned. Perhaps Hashem wants us to call out to Him when we are suffering. He may not want us to stoically and silently absorb the blows. Perhaps crying out and shrieking and ranting against what we humans consider evil and tragic and excruciating is as potent an indicator of true faith, as is praising Him and His many chasadim.Cheryl Kupfer
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