The Redemption from Egypt and Today's Redemption

[Opening words from Rabbi Shlomo Aviner's radio program]

1. Similarity and Difference
We are fortunate that we have merited the Redemption from Egypt and the Redemption we are currently experiencing. There is both a similarity and a difference between these two Redemptions, as our revered teacher Ha-Rav Kook explained in the article "The Pesach of Egypt and the Future Pesach" which appears in the book "Maamrei Ha-Re'eiyah" (pp. 164-166). The similarity is the great wonder is which each of the Redemptions occurred. In Egypt, we were slaves, downtrodden and persecuted, and we were instantly transformed into an exalted, strong and courageous Nation. This is an historical wonder which has no parallel. The same applies to our Redemption: we were in Exile, a Nation scattered and separated among the nations, downtrodden, expelled, suffering pogroms, persecutions and the Holocaust. There are no words to describe the suffering we experienced. And we were suddenly transformed into a free Nation in our Land: a courageous Nation, a wealthy Nation, a Nation of Torah – an unbelievable wonder. This is similarity but there is also a difference. The Redemption from Egypt was performed "in haste" (Devarim 16:3). The Gemara in Berachot (9a) emphasizes that we were redeemed in an instance, a miracle of miracles. But the prophet Yeshayahu (52:11) writes regarding the Redemption of our time: It will not occur in haste. It will occur slowly, with difficulties, problems and complications. Our Redemption even goes backwards at times, occurs slowly, not a miracle of miracles, through natural means. Nature moves at its own pace, without revealed miracles.

2. Which Redemption is Greater?
It would seem that the Redemption from Egypt was greater with its revealed miracles and wonders. After all, our current Redemption seems like a pauper riding on a horse. Our Sages teach however that this is not so. They say that the future Redemption is much greater than the Redemption of Egypt. The Mishnah in Berachot 1:5 relates that Rabbi Elazar Ben Azaryah said: I am like a man of 70 years, but I never merited proving why one is obligated to mention the Exodus at night until Ben Zoma explained: It says in the Torah (Devarim 16:3), "In order that you shall remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt, all the days of your life" – "The days of your life" refers to the days; "All the days of your life" refers to the nights. Ben Zoma's proof is from the word "all." The Sages disagree and say that the extra word "all" refers to something else: "'The days of your life' refers to this world; 'All the days of your life' indicates the time of the Messiah." According to their opinion, we mention the Exodus from Egypt in this time and in the days of the Messiah, but not at night. Ben Zoma says to the Rabbis: But the prophet Yirmiyahu says: "Therefore, behold, days are coming, says Hashem, when they will no longer say, 'As Hashem lives, who brought the Children of Israel out of the land of Egypt,' but 'As Hashem lives, Who raised and returned the seed of the house of Israel from out of the northern lands and from every country into which I had driven them, and they will dwell on their own Land'" (Yirmiyahu 23:7-8). We thus learn that in the days of the Messiah, we will not recall the Exodus, because the future Redemption will be so great that its light will hide the miracle of the Exodus. The Rabbis answer that these verses from Yirmiyahu do not mean that the remembrance of the Exodus will be forgotten, but the great miracle of liberation from the oppression of the kingdoms of the world will be the main remembrance, and the Exodus will be the secondary one (Bereachot 12b). Ben Zoma and the Sages therefore both agree that the future Redemption will be greater than the Redemption from Egypt. The only dispute is whether the Exodus from Egypt will be mentioned in the days of the Messiah.

3. The Future Redemption
Why is the Future Redemption so much greater than the Redemption from Egypt? – After all, the Exodus from Egypt is the miracle of miracles and our Redemption is through a natural process. This recalls the letter of Ha-Rav Yaakov Moshe Charlap to Maran Ha-Rav Kook, found in the book "Hed Harim": I am disappointed by the Zionist movement. I greatly value the building of the Land and the return to Zion but we lost out on the miracle of miracles on account of them, since a person receives from heaven what he expects. Now that we have toiled to build the Land, we have lost out on the strength of miracles and only receive weakness. But – Ha-Rav Charlap says – I have seen that his honor does not agree. Maran Ha-Rav Kook responds to him in his letters (Igrot vol. 3, p. 20): His honor must be very careful regarding this thought that you had. The Redemption which comes "Kim'a Kim'a - slowly, slowly" is the strength of fortitude and not weakness. In truth, miracles show us that Hashem has the ability to perform anything beyond nature. But the Redemption through nature – through man - is greater. Hashem is not under "pressure." Hashem does not want to transverse nature. This is the strength of fortitude. Hashem performed the Redemption from Egypt and we were like babies for which everything was done. Now, we are no longer babies. The Master of the Universe brings the Redemption through us. There are therefore difficulties and complications. This is does not mean that it is not the Redemption, but because this is the Redemption through natural means. It is not that we are not on the right path. We are on the right path, but we are not at the end.