How Do We Leave Egypt Today?

The Sefat Emet Pesah 5631 (1871) on What It Means to Leave Egypt
‫שפת אמת פסח תרל"א‬
‫בכל דור ודור חייב אדם לראות את עצמו כו' ואח"כ אמר ואותנו הוציא. ונראה כי ע"י אמונה‬ ‫שיש יציאת מצרים לכל דור ודור נתגלה זה. ומהר"ל כתב כי בכלל הי' כל אחד ביציאת‬ ‫מצרים רק חייב לראות כאלו יצא בפרט ע"ש. וי"ל ג"כ כנ"ל שע"י אמונה נכנס לתוך הכלל‬ ‫ובוודאי בכלל הי' יצ"מ לנקודה הישראלית שמשם נמשך חיים לכל איש ישראל רק ע"י אמונה‬ ‫באין לזה. ואחר שרואה עצמו כאלו יצא. ויודע ומאמין כי גם ההארה שיש לו לא הי' לולי‬ ‫יצ"מ. עי"ז נתגלה לו שרואה איך יוצא באמת. וכן הפי' בסיפור יציאת מצרים אפילו כולנו‬ ‫חכמים כו'. כי אף שהוא חכם דבוק בה' חיים יש לו לידע כי כל זה ע"י יצ"מ שהאמת כן רק‬ ‫שצריך לברר זה ע"י אמונה והוא הסיפור לשון בירור וגילוי מפורשת כי בכל דור יש יציאת‬ ‫מצרים לפני ענין הדור וכ"ז הי' בשעת יציאת מצרים. וכפי אמונת האדם כאילו יצא נתגלה‬ :‫בחי' זו ומרגיש מיצ"מ של עתה ויוכל לצאת כל אחד ממיצר שלו‬

Scorchin Commentary The Sefat Emet has two questions that are behind this commentary on the Haggada. The first question, echoing the Maharal of Prague is why do we begin with the obligation to “see ourselves as if we went out from Egypt” only to state soon after that we actually in fact were redeemed from Egypt. His second question is to explain the significance of the wisest and most pious among us also having to tell the story. It is not the content of the story that is important, but it is the spiritual connection to the significance of the original event that is so important. By connecting with all of Israel past and present, through all the triumphs over the darkest moments, by this merit our eyes will be opened to the personal trials that remain before us. The collective past is a window to the individual’s present and it is through an open receiving heart that will bring the necessary clarity to reckon with whatever befalls us. More importantly, belief in the original moment has the potential to enlighten the present as well. It is only when we believe there is no difference between the slaves of Egypt and ourselves can we truly liberate ourselves from the present.

In each and every generation one is obligated to see himself as if he went out from Egypt. Afterwards, this statement is followed by the phrase, “and he brought us out.” (The first phrase “as if” implies reenacting while the second phrase states that we ,ourselves were actually redeemed) It would seem that this statement reveals that through believing that each generation has its own Egypt we will be able to reenact the Exodus from Egypt. The Maharal wrote that as a group everyone was actually present at the Exodus, but it as individuals everyone has to see himself “as if he went out”. (Maharal, Gevurot HaSHem Chapter 61). It would also seem that the way one enters the group is through believing that he went out from Egypt. For certainly, the Exodus from Egypt was the original Israelite point from which life is drawn to every person in Israel, and this is something that we are obliged to believe. After one sees himself as if he himself went out from Egypt as a part of the original group, and he is aware and believes that his very essence is only possible because of the Exodus from Egypt, then this awareness will reveal to him how to truly leave his personal Egypt. That is why when it says, “Even if we were all wise, we were all perceptive and we knew the Torah”, we still are obliged to tell the story. For even if you are wise and totally connected to God himself, one must make himself aware that all his connection comes from the moment of the Exodus from Egypt for even thought this is the truth, this must be clarified by faith, and that is what telling the story means, it is a way of clarifying, and explicitly revealing that each generation according to that generation’s circumstance has an Egypt from which it must leave and all this was part of the original Exodus from Egypt. Rabbi Avi Weinstein

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