Friday, April 6, 2012

From the Lowliest of Beginnings...

Why does the Hagada begin the narrative of יציאת מצרים (the Exodus from Egypt) with the shameful statement that “in the beginning our ancestors were idolaters”?

The Koznitzer Maggid (d.1814) explains that this teaches us that no matter how far we may have strayed from the proper path, we should never give up hope of coming close to God. For our ancestors were worshipers of idols, the lowest spiritual level possible, yet, nevertheless, in the end "קרבנו המקום לעבדתו" – "God brought us close to His service." No matter how low we may fallen spiritually, there is no point at which we cannot return to God.