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Friday, April 11, 2008

The Far Side...

…is going to take advantage of the fact that this week is Shabbos HaGadol to skip the parshat hashavuah (I tell ya, Sefer Vayikrah is rough for this kind of thing), and instead post a thought on the coming Passover holiday.

Many fine things have been said about Pesach, the Haggadah and Yetziat Metzrayim in general over the years…the following is a family favorite:

Picture the scene.
Makkas Bechoros (death of the first born sons) is taking place in all its fury…Pharaoh tells Moshe that enough is enough, that the Hebrews (always LOVED that term, no idea why) are free to go and should do so post haste.
We all know what happened next…Moshe rounds up the Bnei Yisroel and they beat it out the front gates of Egypt that morning. In fact, they are in such a hurry (and really, who can blame them) that they do not even have enough time to prepare food for the way.

:::Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech::
::beep-beep-beep::

Hold on a second, can we back the Exodus truck up for a few seconds.

Now I don’t know about you, but I have gone on a few G-Family trips in my day. In addition, I have traveled back and forth to Israel a few times and seen many other people from the Tribe of Yaakov in full blown travel mode. If there is one thing that jews make damn sure of when it comes to traveling…IT'S THE FOOD! This is far from the last thing that gets planned for and taken care of. Forget the keys, sure – Leave a light on, absolutely – Not call to cancel the newspaper, all the time. Not make sure that there are adequate sandwiches, drinks, snacks, cookies, candies, condiments, spices…NO – WAY.

So how is it possible that the Bnei Yisroel were not prepared food-wise for their impending departure? Didn’t Moshe tell them what was going to happen? Should they not have been sitting at their bloody doorways (see what i did there) all packed and ready to go?

So what happened?

Let’s re-examine that scene we were talking about just a tad. Imagine what went down by Makkas Dam; Moshe tells everybody that God is going to perform a miracle and lead them out of bondage. Maybe they believe him and maybe they don’t. Moshe goes to speak with Pharaoh…hijinx ensue…and behold, all the water in Egypt turns the color of a USC Trojan home-jersey. Well, one would imagine that at this point any naysayers are on board. Gotta think that everybody is convinced this is it, time’s up, everybody out of the pool, it’s time to leave. So one and all most probably go to their homes and tell family and friend to start packing up…that Moshe dude was actually telling the truth and God is about to lead them to the promised land.

Only it didn’t happen…Pharaoh remains unmoved and life in slavery continues. Everyone goes home to tell family and friend it’s not happening and to unpack.

Dateline Makkas Frogs; same lead up to the event as with Dam only this time Pharaoh caves and tells Moshe that if God ends the plague the Hebrews can indeed leave. Jubilation spreads across the land. Okay, so it took two plagues for Pharaoh to take the hint…but now they are definitely getting out of there.

Only, once again, it didn’t happen. Pharaoh plays his little yes/no game and the beat goes on.

This continues for SEVEN more plagues. Moshe tells the people that God is going to punish Egypt and lead them out…the plague indeed takes place…the people get all excited that it’s time to hit the road…Pharaoh either doesn’t care or goes back on his word…AND NOTHING CHANGES, life continues on the same as before.

Kinda puts Makkas Bechoros into a new light doesn’t it? Figure by this time, when Moshe tells Bnei Yisroel that God is going to punish the Egyptians and lead them out of slavery, the reaction was just a liiiiiiiiiiiitle more lukewarm than it was when all this started. I’m thinking that at best the majority of people had taken on a “we’ll see” attitude, and no doubt there were some who had gone into “yeah, sure” mode.

Which all explains very well why nobody was ready when it was time to actually leave. They were not ready because they were not expecting it to happen, because they had given up hope of it ever becoming a reality. They had resigned themselves to the fact that it just wasn’t gonna happen.

Okay, so that clears up a slight historical curiosity as to the non-preparedness.

Now I hear some of you in the back…”that’s it, no message?”.
Well, the truth is that there really does not need to be one, I just like the way that this view of events makes things flow better and allows for a clearer understanding of what went down during the Yetziah.

HOWEVAH!! For those who wish a culminating thought…there is an important lesson to be learned from this cycle of events, and that is the following:

We currently stand almost two thousand years into the most recent Galus. Think about that for a moment…TWO THOUSAND years. That is unprecedented in out history. It would be easy, and even somewhat understandable, for one to think that this is just the way that things are going to be. That life will always be this way and God, for whatever reason, has chosen not lead us toward His promised land in His promised way.

Yet, the events of Yetzias Metzrayim show us the flaw in this way of thinking. It shows us that, to use an old cliché, things are always darkest just before the dawn. That when things look to be at their worst, when it seems that nothing can possibly be done, when all hope is lost…at that moment and under those circumstances…THAT…that is when the true Yeshua comes.

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what of the legal request you ask...we stand on tenterhooks awaiting a reply from the great one.
In the mean time...

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