…The days of the Festival of our Freedom are approaching, when we will again recall that great event at the dawn of our history, when our people were liberated from Egyptian bondage in order to receive the Torah as free men.

Memory and imagination are the ability to associate oneself with an event in the past, and in so doing to live again through the emotions that were felt at the time of the event. Only physically are we bound by time and space. In our minds we can travel without limits, and the more spiritual we become, the closer we can approach the past, the more intensely we can experience its message and inspiration.

Remembering is a spiritual achievement. Commenting on the verse, “And these days shall be remembered and done” (Esther 9:28), the Rabbis say that as soon as those days are remembered, they are re-enacted in Heaven. The Divine benevolence that brought the miracles in the past is wakened again by our act of recollection.

This is one of the reasons why we have been enjoined to remember the liberation from Egypt in every generation and every day. And why every Jew must see himself as if he had been freed from Egypt on that day. For every day he must personally “go out from Egypt,” that is, he must escape from the limits, temptations and obstructions that his physical existence places in the way of his spiritual life.

The counterpart of the liberation from Egypt is the liberation of the Divine Soul from the constraints of its physical environment. And this must be experienced every day if true freedom is to be reached.

And when it is achieved, as it must be, with the help of G‑d who freed our people from Egypt, and through a life of Torah and Mitzvot, a great spiritual anguish is ended. The inner conflict between what is physical and what is Divine in the Jew’s nature, is transcended. And then, only then, can he enjoy real freedom, the sense of serenity and harmony which is the prelude to freedom and peace in the world at large….

(Source: Letter, 11th Nissan, 5713;
Igrot Kodesh, Vol. 7 pp. 205-6)

…One of the most significant lessons of the festival of Pesach is that the Jew has the capacity, even within a short space of time, to transform himself from one extreme to another.

The Torah and the Rabbis graphically describe the extent of the enslavement of the Israelites in Egypt, and the spiritual depths to which they had sunk. They were slaves in a country from which none could escape. They were under the power of a Pharaoh who had bathed in the blood of Jewish children. They were destitute, broken in body and spirit by the lowest kind of forced labor. And then, suddenly, Pharaoh’s power was broken, the whole people liberated, and a nation who not long ago were slaves, left the land “with an outstretched arm” and “with great wealth.”

And their spiritual liberation was equally dramatic. They had reached the “forty-ninth stage of impurity,” to the point of idolatry. And then—they saw G‑d revealed in the fullness of His glory. A few weeks later they stood at the foot of Mount Sinai, at the apex of holiness and prophecy and heard G‑d saying to each of them, without any intermediary: “I am the L-rd, thy G‑d.”

From this it follows that no matter where a Jew stands, or a Jewish community stands, on the ladder to perfection, the call comes every day to remember the liberation from Egypt, to strive after freedom, boldly (“with an outstretched arm”) and with a total commitment (“with great wealth”) to become “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” by accepting the life of Torah “as in the days of your liberation from Egypt.” Despair belongs to those who see with human eyes, not to those who see with the eye of faith.

There must be no pause nor hesitation on this road; no resting satisfied with what has already been accomplished. One must press on unrelenting until one experiences the call: “I am the L-rd, thy G‑d….”

(Source: Letter, 11th Nissan, 5719;
Igrot Kodesh, Vol. 18 pp. 318-19)

…One of the most striking features of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt was their demonstration of faith in the Providence of G‑d.

Consider the circumstances: An entire nation, men, women and children, numbering several million, willingly left a well-settled and prosperous country, a country whose pagan values had already left their impression on them, to venture on a long and dangerous journey, without provisions, but with absolute reliance on the word of G‑d as spoken by Moses.

What is more, they did not follow the familiar and shorter route through the land of Philistines, which although it involved the risk of war, was far more attractive than the prospect of crossing a vast and desolate desert. In war there is the chance of victory; in defeat there is the chance of escape; but in a desert, without food or water, nature allows no chance of survival. Yet they followed this route, disregarding rationality, and trusting in the word of G‑d.

The facts are more remarkable still. The Israelites had spent 210 years in Egypt, a highly agricultural country, where the nomadic life was mistrusted, where the soil was fertile and irrigated by the Nile whatever the caprices of the climate. They forsook all the security of the natural order….

Why did they do so? This question is echoed in every generation. The secular world, and the Jew who has strayed from Jewish truth, asks the practicing Jew: You live like us in a materialistic world. You belong to a competitive society. You too face the struggle for economic survival. How can you exempt yourself from its values? How can you adhere to a code of precepts that burden your life and restrict your actions at every turn?

The answer lies in the exodus from Egypt.

Then, when Jews responded to the call of G‑d, disregarding what seemed reasonable at the time, breaking with the values of their Egyptian environment, it transpired that the path they took was the path of true happiness, spiritually in receiving the Torah and becoming G‑d’s chosen people, materially in reaching the Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey.

It is so today and always. Through the Torah (the Torat Chayim, the “law of life”) and the Mitzvot a Jew attaches himself to the Creator of the World, and frees himself from all “natural” limitations. This is the way of happiness, in the spirit and the material world….

(Source: Letter, 11th Nissan, 5721;
Igrot Kodesh, Vol. 20 pp. 204-5)