This week's parsha of Shemot details the descent of the Jewish people into slavery and the beginning of their redemption. Pharaoh, alarmed over Jewish growth and prosperity, sets out his Final Solution to the Jewish problem. He afflicts the Jews with horrendous suffering and labour and decrees the death of all male babies. The future saviour of the Jewish people is hidden in a basket in the Nile and eventually found by Pharaoh's daughter, who nurses and mothers the baby.
The Torah recounts, in one of the most beautiful episodes in the Tanach, how G-d reveals Himself to Moses from a burning bush. The Torah tells us that "behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed" (Ex. 3:2). This powerful metaphor is symbolic of the Jewish people. Suffering under harsh taskmasters controlled by a tyrant who would bathe himself in Jewish babies' blood, the Jewish people seemed to be on the brink of extinction. The mighty Egyptian empire would surely outlast the Jews, the dregs of existence. Pharaoh's wicked enforces would cement Jewish babies into the walls of his monuments if the required amount of bricks were not met by the Hebrew slaves. Despite all this, G-d promised that His nation would endure. Out of this tremendous affliction came the Divine response: "I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and I have heard their cry because of their slave drivers, for I know their pains. I have descended to rescue them from the hand[s] of the Egyptians and to bring them up from that land, to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivvites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression that the Egyptians are oppressing them." (Ex. 3:7-9) G-d had not forsaken His people. He would redeem them from Egyptian bondage.
Throughout history, the Jewish people has been tested under fire. We went through the "holy" fires of the Inquisition, which burned our holy books and our bodies at the stakes, tried for being true to our faith. The Nation of Israel was subjected to the ovens and crematorium of Auschwitz, Treblinka, Majdanek, Belzec, Sobibor, Bergen-Belsen and the other mass graveyards of Europe. Even today, the State of Israel remains under constant bombardment from jihadist rockets. Our enemies continue to proclaim the eventual destruction of the Jewish people. Like the Pharaoh of old, Hamas, Hizbullah, al-Qaeda, Iran and the like continue to plot out demise and annihilation.
As much as the Egyptian oppressed Israel, so the Jews prospered and multiplied. "But as much as they would afflict them, so did they multiply and so did they gain strength" (Ex. 1:12). They sought to break our backs and our spirit but our resolve only strengthened. This is Jewish history in a nutshell. Only two generations ago, we went from Auschwitz and built Jerusalem. We emerged from the ashes, from the graveyards and sites of death and established ourselves anew in our land. "Son of man, can these bones live?'... these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say: Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off. Therefore prophesy, and say unto them: Thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, O My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel." (Ezek. 37:3,11-12) The dry bones, left for dead, scorched by the raging fires of anti-semitism and hatred, arose and had live breathed into them again. Today, our resolve is tested by rockets, bombs, condemnations and threats. We will not be broken! Just as the Egyptian failed to break us, so will we not be broken by Hamas or any other murderous terrorists. From their attacks we will grown and be strengthened.
Our trials and tribulations are increasing right before the advent of the Messianic Era. G-d said to Moses: "Go and assemble the elders of Israel, and say to them, 'The Lord God of your forefathers has appeared to me, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, "I have surely remembered you and what is being done to you in Egypt." ' And I said, 'I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt, to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivvites, and the Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey.'" (Ex. 3:16) The same thing will happen again in our days, when G-d will remember our affliction and bring us out of our current captivity. We are the eternal nation, the bush caught in the flames but is not consumed.
Am Yisrael Chai! The Jewish Nation lives!
Cross-posted to Stop Raping Israel