The actual letters and words of the retelling contain in them the strength of the miracles themselves….

This week's Torah portion speaks a lot about the miracles G‑d did for our forefathers. There is a Chasidic saying that telling (and believing) miracle stories about how G‑d and His agents helped us draws down the source of the miracles into this world to help cause more miracles to happen. Rebbe Michel of Zlotchov would explain that the actual letters and words of the retelling contain in them the strength of the miracles themselves. This is how parashat Bo opens: "In order that you should tell your children and your children's children how I made fools of Egypt.....and you will know that I am G‑d." (Ex. 10:2)

Moses waved his hand on the heavens and behold there was thick darkness on the whole land of Egypt. No one could see their brother and no one could rise for three days. But for the Children of Israel there was light in their houses. (Ex. 10:22)

What does it mean, there was light in their houses? This light was not just in the houses of the Jews, but accompanied the Jews wherever they went. Even when a Jew came to the home of an Egyptian, light shone for the Jew there, too.

The present exile is also darkness from a spiritual and ethical perspective. Just as the Jews had light before they left Egypt, so also our generation has light preceding the impending redemption. This holy light shines, envelops and escorts each Jew wherever he or she goes, even amidst a gentile world and amongst negative forces. Nevertheless, this light and protection is not completely free. What is required of us is to remember our identity and act as Jews. The more Torah we study, especially the inner dimensions, and the more mitzvahs we do, the more light there is around us.

Torah study and mitzvah observance are our strongest weapons….

The Shelah discusses this in relation to the first Pascal offering. (see Ex.12:1) The purpose of this command was to weaken the Egyptians, who worshipped the lamb, the astrological sign associated with the month of Nissan, the month in which the Exodus took place. The Pascal lamb served as a holy beacon shining amidst an impure society which idolized that very same animal. The commandment both strengthened our connection to G‑d and weakened our enemies. Similarly for us in this generation, Torah study and mitzvah observance are our strongest weapons.

"They borrowed, each man from his neighbor and each woman from her neighbor, vessels of gold and vessels of silver. And G‑d will give a kind eye to the Egyptians." (Ex. 11:2)

Why is the Torah calling the Egyptians our "neighbors" all of a sudden? Rebbe Michel said that the commandment was to ask one Jew from another, not from the Egyptians. This demonstration of kindness amongst us aroused G‑d to cause the Egyptians to have a "kind eye" and also lend their vessels to the Jews. If we only knew how easy it is for us to succeed in all of our endeavors….May a word to the wise be sufficient.

What is it with this exile? The Omnipotent Almighty could bring us out of this mess instantly, without all of the preparations. What does G‑d want from us? The Lubavitcher Rebbe repeated many times that the only conceivable reason that G‑d absolutely disguises the advantages we gain from exile, is because it is His will that each of us should desire, and honestly shout, "We want this exile to end! We want the redemption NOW!" If there was even the slightest dim point of logic, justifying the current state of the world, our calls for G‑d's salvation each day" would not be totally true.

One of the foundations of our faith is that G‑d is good and just.

One of the foundations of our faith is that G‑d is good and just. Without question the time will come when we will say, "I praise You, Almighty, for this exile You put me through." But until then, we should not accept it! We must feel with all of our soul, acting as though our lives depended on it, and shout with all of our might, "We want the redemption now."

If you do not have a tzadik to guide you in your spiritual matters, now is the time to find one. Rebbe Michel writes that now, just before Mashiach's arrival, the spiritual level of tzadikim will be greater than in previous generations for one reason: since there is not much time left until the Redemption, and as the illness (exile) is more serious, G‑d protect us, we need more powerful medicine.

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

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