We really were going to choose a different topic for this week’s Lead Tidbit, but we decided to present a theme that we’ve presented many times in the past… once again. And we’ll tell you why. Because other Torah weeklies seem to purposely avoid the topic – even on sedras that SHOUT it.
Lest there be any doubt as to what we’re talking about – we’ll tell you up front: It’s the centrality of Eretz Yisrael in Jewish Life.
As the Book of Sh’mot begins, the Torah reminds us that Yosef and his brothers had all died and their offspring have multiplied unnaturally greatly. What was the family of Yaakov is soon to become the nation of Israel. But not yet.
There is to come over a hundred years of oppression and slavery before we will be redeemed and taken out of Egypt.
Very soon after the Torah paints the dark picture of Egyptian slavery, it prevents us with a preview of the GEULA, with the birth of Moshe Rabeinu.
He is born, floated on the Nile, rescued and adopted by the daughter of Par’o, but he is first nursed by his real mother, Yocheved. He grows up in Par’o’s palace but he knows that he is Jewish and is connected to his people.
He gets into trouble and flees to Midyan. He marries and has two sons – Gershom, named in this week’s sedra and his second son, whose name we don’t find out about until Parshat Yitro.
And then he has his first prophecy from G-d. At the Burning Bush.
That experience, we are taught, was a seven day marathon. But we will now focus in one one aspect.
G-d says to Moshe that He has remembered His promises to the Patriarchs and He has heard the cries of the people’s suffering in Egypt.
G-d then says (Sh’mot 3:8) – And I will go down to save it (the nation) from the hand of Egypt and I will bring it (the Nation) up from that land to a good and expansive land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the K’naani…
We’ve pointed this out many times: We are dealing with one single pasuk. With a compound sentence whose parts are joined by the conjunctive VAV. G-d has a single intention. To take us out of Egypt in order to bring us to Eretz Yisrael.
There isn’t even mention yet of the Torah we are to receive on the way. A few p’sukim later, G-d tells Moshe that the sign that He is the One who is taking the people out of Egypt, is that we will return to this spot (Har Sinai) and serve G-d here. This, we are taught, is our entering into the Covenant of Sinai. Receiving the Torah.
In next week’s sedra, the package deal is expanded. But first is that G-d will takes us up from Egypt to Eretz Yisrael. Can G-d’s point be clearer than that? Israel is where we all belong.