This week’s Torah portion begins with the reaffirmation of G-d’s promise and covenant to give the children of Abraham, Isaac and Yaakov freedom from enslavement, the Torah at Sinai, and the Land of Israel. The fulfillment of this begins with demanding and forcing Pharaoh to liberate the Jewish People. When negotiations with Pharaoh fail to produce the desired results, supernatural plagues are unleashed against the Egyptians rendering them weak and helpless.
Responding to Moses’ question at the end of last week’s parsha, “Why have you made it bad (difficult) for this Nation? Since you sent me to Pharaoh (to demand their freedom) things have become worse”, G-d says, “This is the time when I will reveal and give to the Children of Israel more than I gave their ancestors.” Much more. Their experience with Hashem will be of a completely different dimension and exponentially higher than the Patriarchs experience with G-d. How does that answer the question – Why have You brought bad to Your children?
Moses represents the millennial question that can be asked of every pogrom, holocaust and persecution in the annals of Jewish History: Why? Why? Why? Egyptian slavery – Why? Babylonian conquest – Why? Roman massacre and expulsion – Why? Crusades – Why? Spanish/Portuguese inquisition and expulsion – Why? Chmielnicki pogrom – Why? The communist purge – Why? The Holocaust – Why? There is no answer or justification from a rational perspective. No reason is adequate to answer these life shattering events.
We can however have two possible approaches to these cataclysmic tragedies – to be angry, disillusioned, dejected, insecure, vengeful and allow that horrendous negative power to define our identity and purpose, or we can reach new levels that were not envisioned before. G-d says to Moshe that this painful experience will result in new and greater evolvement.
The Patriarchs experienced the revelation of Elokim – the G-dly energy involved in Nature. The Israelites in Egypt will experience the revelation of Havaya – the ineffable name of G-d representing the Divine energy beyond all natural order. In our generation the similar process repeated itself. The Holocaust could affect its survivors to complain (rightfully), disengage or even neutralize their Jewish living, or they can create a renaissance of Jewishness that surpasses the extraordinary quantity and quality of whatever was destroyed. It is not the natural order but we have accomplished it over and over in our historical sojourn through civilization.
The ways of Hashem are hidden. Hence we cannot know, intellectually or emotionally, the reason for suffering but we can give those who suffered purpose and meaning by using the painful fall backwards to make the quantum leap forward.
Questions that cannot be answered should not become the raison d’être of our actions and behavior.
After Egypt came a powerful exodus – after the Holocaust there must come an exponentially even greater exodus – the coming of Moshiach.
Have a good Shabbos and a wonderful week.