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Shabbat Parashat Yitro | 5769

The Two Elements of Geula (Liberation)

Ein Ayah

Gemara: All agree that Bnei Yisrael were liberated from Egypt at night, as the pasuk says: “Hashem took you out of Egypt at night” (Devarim 16:1) and left specifically during the day, as the pasuk says: “On the day after the bringing of the Pesach, Bnei Yisrael left with a strong hand” (Bamidbar 33:3). What they did argue about is the time of haste. Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya says it refers to the haste of Egypt, and Rabbi Akiva says that it refers to the haste of Israel.


Ein Ayah: The redemption from slavery to freedom, in general, has the following two effects on a nation. The first is that there is an internal sense of freedom, which gives the spirit a feeling of uplifting, having left the lowliness of slavery and becoming a free man and a master of one’s own destiny. The second is in regard to the activity that is visible to the whole world, as the nation becomes free and vibrant. Regarding Israel, these two matters are especially powerful because the internal freedom is the beginning of the process of self-perfection in regard to the sanctity of one’s characteristics in Torah, mitzvot, and wisdom. Israel’s externally visible freedom exists to enable them to be a light unto the nations. A major part of that project has already been achieved. It will be completed when Hashem will have compassion on His nation and the Torah will emanate from Zion with nations looking forward to the Torah of Israel.

Therefore, the elements of liberation were broken up into two parts. Internal liberation from Egyptian control was accomplished at night. This relates not to the main publicizing of the matter for all to see but to the good feeling that accompanies the internal freedom. The exodus was in the daytime, with a strong hand, open for all of the world to see. This demonstrated their activity in the world, to educate and do good for all of mankind, who are created in Hashem’s image, to give light in Hashem’s light, as the pasuk says: “Nations will walk in your light and kings to the glow of your shining” (Yeshaya 60:3).

[The disagreement is whether to stress the haste of Egypt or of Israel.] The internal freedom depends on nullifying slavery, which had to come from the Egyptians, the slave masters. In their haste and their realization that Israel should not be their slaves, the cessation of the slavery began and the internal freedom began to blossom.

Rabbi Akiva said that Israel’s haste was the key factor, as it was a sign of the external freedom, allowing them to walk upright and do major things to improve the world. This required the actions of Israel and their own recognition of their advantages and their calling to act, which exceeds that of the rest of the world. The completeness of the goal of liberation was not just ending slavery but creating actual liberty and the broadening of life under the flag of Torah in the world.

Therefore, that which it says that Hashem took us out of Egypt at night means that the liberation began at night. The nightly liberation is a mere beginning in relation to the lofty goal of complete liberation in a manner that shows the nations of the world that Hashem, the G-d of Israel, is the Lord.

In truth, there are two parts to the liberation: that of day and that of night. This is important because eventually the nation would return to subjugation. Therefore, it was important to teach the nation that the future enslavement would impede only their influence over others. The uplifting of the spirit and the innate advantage that was secured with the Egyptian liberation of the night will remain forever, as “for Me are Israel slaves” (Vayikra 25:55). Therefore, the main obligation to tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt is at night to demonstrate that the impact of the liberation of the night is permanent as the pasuk hints: “Hashem took you out of Egypt at night.”



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This edition of Hemdat Yamim is dedicated to the memory of

HaRav Professor

Reuben M. Rudman ob”m


as well as

 R ' Meir ben Yechezkel Shraga  Brachfeld



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