Sunday, March 24, 2013

“Anyone that speaks abundantly about the Exodus from Egypt is praiseworthy.”

The Hagada tells us, “Anyone that speaks abundantly about Yetzias Mitzraim (the Exodus from Egypt) is praiseworthy.” Rav Shlomo Kluger (d.1869) is quoted to have said that this means, if one speaks a great deal about Yetzias Mitzraim, this is a sign that he is a praiseworthy person.

Rav Yosef Shaul Nathanson (d.1875) is quoted to explain this idea with a story:
Once, a very poor man suddenly became very rich. Over the years, he hired personal tutors and he became a learned and wise man. Every year, on the anniversary of his sudden success, he would celebrate with a party.
Suddenly, it happened that he lost all of his wealth. Yet, every year he continued to celebrate the anniversary of his earlier success. His friends asked him, “Why do you continue to celebrate when you have lost all of your wealth?”
The man replied, “I lost the money that I gained on that day, but the main benefit I received from that money was the wisdom that I learned from my teachers, and that is still with me!”
Similarly, when we went free from Egypt, we gained our material freedom and we also gained the Torah and the close relationship with God that comes with it. Even though, today, we are once again in exile, and do not have the same material freedom that we gained when we left Egypt, we still have the Torah and our relationship with God.

A person who joyously recounts the Exodus from Egypt while we remain in exile, demonstrates that, for him, the main benefit of the Exodus was not mere material freedom, but the spiritual benefits of the Exodus.
 (הגדת יינה של תורה)

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