we are at the end of the story

Friday, 31 December, 2021 - 6:51 am

I like Parashat Va’era very much – not because of the plagues and the many miracles it tells us of – not at all. I like it particularly because of a conversation that takes place between Moshe Rabbeinu and Hashem, a conversation I find to be most fascinating. 

At the end of Parashat Shemot Moshe Rabbeinu approaches Hashem and makes a strong claim: “Why have you done evil to this people, why have You sent me?! From the time I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your Name he did evil to this people! But You did not rescue Your people!”

This is the firmness and even audacity of a true leader, a leader who has taken over the responsibility for his flock, and is willing to do anything for their sake – even confront the Creator of the world. 

In this week’s Parasha, Hashem answers him, and explains to him very nicely: “I appeared to Avraham, to Yitzchak and to Yaakov… and I have also established My covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan… and also I have heard the groan of Bnei Yisrael… and I have remembered My covenant.”

To me it all sounds something like this:

“Dear Moishe, I feel your pain. I understand your deep rage; I also understand the great frustration you are expressing when you say, ‘From the time I came… to speak in Your Name he did evil to this people.’ But you must understand something: the story of which you are the hero now did not begin today, not even when we met by the burning bush. 

“This story began already with Avraham, even before Yitzchak was born. I made a covenant with him. I informed him of all the stages of My plan: You will have a son, the Jewish People will come from him, I will exile them to Egypt. They will suffer there for many years, and then I will come to save them miraculously; they will leave Egypt with many possessions, and in the end will reach the Promised Land.

“So you see, Reb Moishe, that you have arrived towards the end of the story, and that is why you are complaining. If you would have known the entire plan, you would also know that the hardest moments, those that you complained about, are actually the last moments of suffering. Starting tomorrow I will begin to strike the Egyptians and immediately the next stage will come: ‘I will take out… I will save… I will redeem… I will take… I will bring.’ Don’t worry: everyone, Jews and Egyptians alike, will know that I am Hashem in the land.”

I always learn from this story to our days. Always, when there are hard times, when there is terror and murder, and hatred that arouses a bit of fear, I remember Hashem’s words to Moshe and say to myself: Wait a minute: up there He has an orderly plan. It’s a long story that began many, many years ago, and we, today, are already facing the it’s concluding part; we are very close to the end of this saga known as exile. 

One only needs to keep on believing, and do a bit more, and then we, too, will merit to see ‘I will take out… I will save… I will redeem… I will take… I will bring’ to rebuilt Jerusalem, with the Third Temple standing, when the Mashiach comes. 

Shabbat Shalom, 

Rabbi Zalmen Wishedski

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