Motsei Shabbos Reflections on Parsha Beshalach: Easier to Remove the Jew from Bondage than to Remove the Bondage from the Jew

In the Parsha HaSheva of parsha Beshalach, this author touched on an area which turns out to be a vort, a drasha unto itself.

Our Parsha opens by stating; “It happened when Pharoh sent out the people that Hashem did not lead them by the way of the Philistines, because it was near, for Hashem said, ‘Perhaps the people will reconsider when they see a war, and they will return to Mitzriyim.’” (Sefer Sh’mos, Perek 13, posuk 17)

R’ Baruch Abba Rakowsky, in a citing from Torah Gems asks why, after escaping from such a terrible enslavement, would the first problem they faced drive them to return to Mitzriyim? He reasons that all that the B’nai Yisrael had wanted was to be freed of their terrible physical work. They never dreamed of liberation from the enslavement. Because of the absence of such a dream, there was ample reason to fear that at the first sign of difficulty they would return to Mitzriyim. (Torah Gems, Aharon Yaakov Greenberg, Volume 2, page 100)

This mindset of seeking to run back to Mitzriyim at each problem, at each crisis i.e; the lack of water, the longing for meat, for fish, having to fight, etc., repeats itself again and again throughout Shemos, Vayikra and Bamidbar.

When we look at our contemporary times, having watched and observed the evolution in Israel over the past 20 years from an Ein Breira mindset of “you attack us, we strike back at you harder and more painfully” to the mindset in today’s Israel of we’re too tired, too tired to win, too tired to fight; particularly since the advent of Oslo, do we not see a form of repetition of the malaise of the Jews after leaving Mitzriyim?

Many among our brethren have been conditioned by way of Israel’s educational system which has worked feverishly to remove the Jew, the pintele yid, the connection to Torah, Jewish heritage and history from the consciousness, from the mindset of Israelis such that young secular Israelis whose primary language is Iv’rit do not even know how to recite Shema Yisrael.

And while much discussion and concern has been exressed over the years about assimilation, the melting of Jews into the societies of the nations in which they happen to live, there is little discussion about an assimilation phenomenon which has been evolving in Israel over recent generations. That is the systematic extraction of Israeli secular youth of anything Jewish by the effete elite who control Israel’s education, information, electronic media and so-called court and justice system. And so this “too tired” dependency system has been inculcated into and reinforced in generations of Israelis who now seem totally divorced from any semblance of Jewish bearing.

But this malaise, this dependency mindset is not merely confined to secular Israelis. It seems to have it’s tenacles in segments of religious Jews as well. There seems to be a blockage somewhere in the learning process from the learning itself to intellectualizing the learning, to internalizing what is learned to the actualization, putting into practice that which was learned. And so in our contemporary times, even religious sectors are hard-pressed to emulate Moshe Rabbeinu’s feelings of oneness with his people. There is a lack of the need, the compulsion to act in tangible, meaningful ways to manifest our oneness and bonding with both our Land with our Brethren.

This author has vividly in mind an incident from last Shushan Purim as described here.

The tendency of reactions of segments of the religious remains to view their brethren who were forcibly expelled from Gush Katif by the regime with total disdain either because of the manner of Kipot worn or mode of dress of those expelled, or because the expulsion didn’t affect individuals of these religious sectors personally. And so, Sharon divided and conquered because our unity and concern for our fellow Jew was found lacking.

This tendency must change in order that future evil decrees fail and so that we, B’ezrat Hashem, are zocha the ultimate redemption, the Ge’ula Shlaima.

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