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TURNABOUT

by Rabbi Ahron Golding    
Torah from Dixie Staff Writer    

Son: "Mom, I want to keep kosher."
Mother: "What?! How can you make such a radical change in your life? What happened?"

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Son: "Mom, I want to keep kosher."
Mother: "What?! How can you make such a radical change in your life? What happened?"

That is the same question that people were asking when the Jews left Egypt. Rashi, the fundamental Torah commentator, tells us that the Jewish people were steeped in idolatry before the exodus. Therefore, when instructing them in the mitzvah of the korban pesach (Paschal lamb) to be offered immediately before their leaving Egypt, Moses had to tell them, "Withdraw your hands from idol worship and take for yourselves a sheep for a mitzvah." However, at the time of the exodus we are told that the Jews left Egypt without any provisions for the trip (Exodus 12:39). Rashi comments that this verse conveys a wonderful praise of the Children of Israel, that they did not say, "How can we go out to the desert without any provisions?" Rather, they had faith in Hashem and followed Him into the wilderness.

Everyone wanted to know "what happened?!" How could a nation which worshipped idols suddenly become a nation which followed Hashem's command in the way a young child unquestionably accompanies his father with complete faith?

Rabbi Yehudah Zev Segal, dean of the Manchester (England) Yeshiva of the past generation, explained that no matter how far a Jew falls, the holiness of his soul remains inside him. It lies dormant, buried beneath the layers of impurity brought about by destructive traits. It is like a massive underground spring that is concealed beneath the ground, covered by layers of rock and earth. When that spring finds its way to the surface, it gushes forth with tremendous force, hurling aside the rocks and dirt that stand in its path. Such is the power of the Jewish people. Such is the strength of any Jewish soul that has undergone a spiritual awakening.

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Rabbi Ahron Golding is a member of the Atlanta Scholars Kollel.

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