Parsha Prep – Yisro
In this week’s Torah portion, Hashem comes to Mount Sinai and speaks “in person” to the Jewish nation. Hashem introduces himself as the one who took the Jews out of Egypt.
The question is, why didn’t Hashem say “I am the creator of the world”!?
Answer 1 – The Ramban explains, in the exodus we saw the degree to which Hashem is involved with our world. However, one question remained, perhaps it was really Moshe doing some magic, or maybe more than one G-d was involved. When Hashem spoke to the entire Jewish people at Sinai, Hashem confirmed that he was the one who orchestrated the miraculous exodus. With the exodus, we witnessed the extent and details of Hashem’s involvement in our lives and world. But it was not confirmed until Hashem spoke to all the Jewish people at Sinai.
Answer 2 – Rashi, according to Maharal, answers that just as Pesach is linked with Shavous by immediately counting sefira, so too our freedom from Egypt is only celebrated when it is linked to the Torah and our relationship with Hashem.
On that note, Rabbi Yitzchok Breitowitz, senior lecturer at Ohr Sameach, Jerusalem, applies this message to an individual level. The three main components of the book of Shemos, as identified by the Ramban, are 1) taking the Jews out of Egypt, 2) giving of the Torah and 3) building the Mishkan (tabernacle).
Every Jew has their own exodus. The hebrew word for Egypt, Mitzrayim comes from the word meytzar meaning narrow straits. Every Jew has their own challenges and character traits which inhibit their growth. But we can break free and refine our character. This enables us to be receptive to hear Hashem speak to us through the Torah, giving meaning to our freedom. Then comes building the Mishkan. When we live by the Torah, we invite Hashem to become part of our lives and dwell in our midst.
Have a wonderful Shabbos.