Parashat Shemot 5769

Shemot January 2009–01–15 Aside from beginning a new book in the Torah, a new era also begins for the people of Israel, as we read in the opening of the Parasha “a new king took over Egypt who did not know Yosef.” After settling in the comfortable land of Goshen at first Bnei Yisrael maintained their special faith which had been interconnected with the Land of Israel. Jacob enjoyed his final years in Egypt, but requested to be brought back for burial to the Ma’arat Hamachpela. Even when he was alive he said, “We have come to sojourn (temporary residence) in your land.” (Berieshit 47:4). His generation held the ideal of Eretz Yisrael as top priority. This perception diminished however as they became more comfortable, the connection to their ancestral Land was lost. They became easily influenced by Egyptian politics and religion. They began to worship their idols and felt most comfortable inside their fleshpots. They descended to the 49th rung of the ladder, almost assimilating altogether. But the lull in this haven did not last. This is when slavery began. Things got even worse and they began to be oppressed. From oppression it escalated into Pharoh calling for the immediate annihilation of all male babies. Notwithstanding, the redeemer was raised right under his nose in his very house from infancy. Hashem said to Moshe Rabbeinu: “I have heard the suffering of my people… and I will bring them into a good Land flowing with milk and honey. (Shemot:3:7-12) There is a terrific concept in kabbalah that stresses that you can never know where redemption will come from. We see this time after time. Only in the last parshiot Yosef the slave becomes Yosef the President. Ester goes to live with none other than Achashverosh in order to bring salvation to Am Yisrael. The turn of events reveal sudden and sensational bends on the Jewish history rollercoaster that was built before time. Moshe Rabbeinu eventually reveals his true identity but what foreshadows the story of our redemption is “a new king who took over Egypt that did not know Yosef.” The Yosef story was good but short lived Let’s see what next Tuesday, January 20 2009 brings us. Shabbat Shalom Leah Goldsmith

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