Parashat Vaera: And if He had not Brought Out

[Rav Aviner's commentary on the Haggadah]

Question: "If The Holy One, Blessed Be He, had not brought our ancestors out of Egypt, we, our children and our grandchildren would still be enslaved to Pharaoh in Egypt." How are we to understand this statement? Pharaoh died a long time ago and his offspring have disappeared. There would certainly have been changes and insurrections during the last thousands of years.
Answer: This statement means that if it were not for the Exodus the entire world would have remained unchanged, as if the same Pharaoh was still reigning. The world would not have advanced if not through the auspices of the Nation of Israel and the Torah. If it were not for the appearance of this brilliant, illuminating event, the renewal of this great light, the entire world would have had nothing to influence it, and would have been, in a sense, frozen in place (Olat Re'eiyah vol. 2, p. 268 and Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah, ibid., p. 27). Therefore, "The Exodus from Egypt will eternally remain the springtime of the entire world" (Meged Yerachim – Nisan – Rav Kook’s sayings for each month). “It is not only the springtime of the Nation of Israel, but the springtime of humanity. The Exodus from Egypt was an occurrence like this: only from one angle can it be viewed as an event that occurred once in the past, remaining only as a memory…But truly…the essential act of the Exodus from Egypt is one which has never ended. It revealed the Hand of Hashem in a way that the whole world could clearly see, as part of human history. It is the bursting forth of the light from the soul of the Living G-d and operates throughout the expanse of the entire world. Israel merited this revelation, in which magnificence and incipient holiness will cause great lights to shine in every dark place, for all generations" (Orot Re'eiyah vol. 1, p.26).