“He believed in G‑d, and He accounted it to him as tzedakah (righteousness).”

-Lech Lecha 15:6

The commentary Hadar Zekeinim-Harosh explains that the Almighty regarded Abraham’s faith as tzedakah, meritorious righteousness. It follows then, that the prophet’s words that “Zion shall be redeemed by justice and her repatriates by tzedakah” (Isaiah 1:27), and many other such verses, refer not only to personal or monetary tzedakah (charity). The complete faith (emunah) of Israel, and their trust in the fulfillment of all the promises given unto them through the prophets, is also referred to as tzedakah. That faith is worthy in the eyes of G‑d, and by virtue thereof He will, in His great compassion, bring upon us that which He promised us.

“Israel was redeemed from Egypt as a reward for their emunah (faith; belief)” (Mechilta, Beshalach 14:31). Their faith indicated a full manifestation of the very core of their Jewishness-that which bonds Israel with the Almighty. This made them worthy of the Exodus-the redemption from Egypt.

The Jewish people had been “believers” even in the harshest times of their Egyptian exile. Essentially, though, that belief came to them as a legacy from their ancestors, by virtue of being “descendants of believers.” It was not something that they had acquired and developed of their own-a truly penetrating and all-pervasive faith that results from personal consciousness and efforts.

In order for Israel to be redeemed from Egypt as an appropriate reward in their own merit, it was necessary for them to transform the inherited faith and the inherited bond with G‑d into something personal of their very own.

Of the Messianic redemption it is written: “As in the days of your going out from the land of Egypt, I will show them wondrous things” (Michah 7:15). This means that it will be analogous to the redemption from Egypt: just as Israel was redeemed from Egypt as a reward for their faith, so too by virtue of our faith Moshiach will redeem us. Indeed, the Midrash (Shocher Tov, ch. 40) states that Israel is worthy of redemption as a reward for the kivuy (hoping for, and awaiting, the redemption). By virtue of Israel’s firm trust that “My salvation is near to come” (Isaiah 56:1), we shall merit that G‑d shall redeem us with the complete and ultimate redemption, speedily, in our very own days.