JUSTICE REFORM, THE TEN PLAGUES,  AND REDEMPTION  

Some people have claimed that the recent turmoil in Israel over Judicial Reform was caused by the fact that the proposal for change was imposed all at once on the country with breakneck speed. Without dissecting this particular issue, here are some thoughts to consider regarding Pesach and the Redemption of Am Yisrael.

By HaRav Shlomo Aviner

 In the accounting of the Exodus story we find that there were exactly ten plagues, as it says in Sefer Yetzira,  “Ten and not nine, ten and not eleven.”²³ What is the significance of the number ten? It signifies a whole unit, including within it all of the individual parts, as well as all of the possible variations on a theme.

The number ten is used in many different instances in the Torah to reflect this idea:

  • “The world was created with ten sayings,” which embody all the inherent possibilities of Divine revelation in each creation.
  • “There were ten generations between Adam and Noach,” which include within them every possible portrayal of the species of mankind.
  • “Avraham was tested with ten tests,” each of which revealed another aspect of his unique personality and brought to the fore his diverse spiritual strengths.
  • “Our forefathers tested God with ten tests in the wilderness,” which include within them every type of provocation which distances a Jew from the Divine light.

And here we have the same idea:

  • “God smote the Egyptians with ten plagues,” which include every form of attack on a nation which defied the idea of Divine Providence in the world.²⁴

The plagues did not all appear simultaneously  as a sudden and immediate act. Rather, they took place gradually, over an extended period of time.

The world was also created piece by piece with ten sayings, even though it could easily have been created with just one. From the perspective of Divine power, there was nothing to prevent the world from being created with one utterance. But there is a universal human inability to absorb a creation of that sort on a cognitive, emotional and practical level. Abrupt changes can sometimes breed unendurable crises. For this reason, the plagues in Egypt did not come all at once. Nor did they begin with the most severe – the Plague of the Firstborn. Instead, step by step, the destruction of Egypt and the creation of Am Yisrael became increasingly apparent to Egyptians and Israelites alike. This psychological upheaval did not happen in a single day, or even in a month. Rather, Jewish and Egyptian hearts gradually absorbed this fundamental change in the course of world history.

It takes time to get used to a new manifestation of God in the world. As God rhetorically asks through Yeshayahu, “Can the earth be made to bring forth in one day; can a nation be conceived in a moment?”²⁵ The course of creation proceeds slowly but surely, as Yeshayahu continues, “Will I induce labor and not bring about birth? Will I, who brings about birth, then stop it?”²⁶ The fact that the process is gradual aids in human acceptance of the phenomenon. So, too, the development of Am Yisrael today is gradual, and does not come about through miraculous leaps: that is the way God redeems His people. Just as the process of childbirth has its stages – beginning slowly and progressing with ever-increasing labor pains – so it is with the birth of Am Yisrael.

 

Share:

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

On Key

Related Posts

Terumah – HaRav Dov Begon

Our national home, as well, the State of Israel, was established with G-d’s help, through the good will displayed by large segments of the people. They united together at an auspicious moment and established the Jewish State despite the Arab’s attacking us and despite the enormous difficulties.

Aliyah and Mashiach

Aliyah is not only seen as a personal choice but also as a collective responsibility. It is believed that the return of Jews to the land of Israel contributes to the spiritual and physical revitalization of the Jewish people and the land itself. By actively participating in the process of Aliyah, individuals and communities play a role in bringing about the Messianic redemption.

Mishpatim – HaRav Dov Begon

Above all else, we have to strengthen recognition and faith amongst the myriads of G-d’s people, Israel, that the Land of Israel belongs to them and that it cannot and must not be divided with a foreign people. Jewish control over the Land does not just serve to benefit the Jewish People, but to bring goodness and light to the whole world, as the Prophet Isaiah said (2:3), “For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of G-d from Jerusalem.”

Yeshivat Machon Meir

By encouraging the move to Israel and offering a deep dive into Hebrew, the Machon Meir Yeshiva is helping shape a generation ready to contribute their own chapters to the ongoing story of the Jewish people.

YITRO – HaRav Dov Begon

Now, on our return to our land and to Jerusalem our capital, on the way to building the Third Temple — may it be soon in our day — the centrality of the State of Israel for the Jewish People and for all of mankind is being revealed more and more.