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OPERATION EXODUS

by Rabbi Dov Ber Weisman    
Torah from Dixie Staff Writer    

In the prayer liturgy of our various holidays, we thank Hashem for the miracles He performed for us "bayamim hahem bazman hazeh - in those days at this time." What exactly does it mean when we talk about the miracles as having occurred "in those days at this time"?

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In the prayer liturgy of our various holidays, we thank Hashem for the miracles He performed for us "bayamim hahem bazman hazeh - in those days at this time." What exactly does it mean when we talk about the miracles as having occurred "in those days at this time"?

The Maharal of Prague, a leading Torah scholar and philosopher of the 16th century, explains that there are no anniversaries in the Jewish calendar. Every year when a particular holiday comes around, we once again receive the enlightenment and flow of blessing of that particular festival, as we did during its initial inception. The Jewish holidays become for us like weigh-stations, opportunities for us to be charged by the particular influence of that holiday. And so, we find ourselves at the station of yetziat Mitzrayim, the exodus from Egypt - Passover.

This expression of yetziat Mitzrayim comes up in our prayers not only throughout the holiday of Passover, but is found all over the prayer book and the various mitzvot we perform throughout the year. Actually, the term literally translates as "the going out of Egypt (from within us)". The Chiddushei Harim, the great tzaddik (righteous person) and 19th century leader, explains that is precisely the point! Egypt being the first exile and the first redemption in our history makes it the root source and paradigm for all future exiles and redemptions. The exodus instilled within us the ability to take the Egypt, or whatever other exile we may be experiencing, and remove it from within ourselves and our psyche. For in every generation, we have our own new Egypt - be it Spain, Germany, Russia, or even the United States - which has become rooted within us and needs an extraction. We need an exodus of that particular exile mentality from within us.

When Passover comes around, we are given an extra dose of divine assistance to help us remove the current "Egypt" from within us and to take out those assimilatory influences, secular values, and attitudes of the culture in our current host country which do not correspond to the Torah's values. Passover is the time to again become bnei chorin, free people.

As we know, only one who is involved in the study of Torah and has Torah values instilled within him, is truly free. It is no coincidence that Passover culminates with the holiday of Shavuot and the giving of the Torah just 49 days later. Without the Torah, one is dangerously subject to becoming shackled with the vogue and fads of the time, dictated by a culture whose only interest is immediate gratification with no thought of tomorrow, of no thought to the eternal and spiritual dimension of Man. Come into Passover, leave Egypt, and embrace the ultimate freedom - serving Hashem by ingesting His Torah.

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Rabbi Dov Ber Weisman writes from Atlanta.

You are invited to read more Passover articles.

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