We begin a very important turning point in the history of our People in this week’s Parasha—the Egypt experience. There is a very old tradition that the first 6 parshiyot of the Book of Shemot actually symbolize the process and evolution from sin to redemption. This is apparent from the time when the Hebrews are slowly pressed into slavery (sins seem to always start small and innocently, but somehow grow and become habitual) to the point where the Hebrews reach rock bottom (don’t even ask the reasons Midrash gives that the Hebrews cried out so loudly to the Lord) to the matzot and Passover rituals ( atonement) to the Exodus, parting of the Sea and the giving of Torah (redemption). Indeed, these six weeks are considered one of the propitious windows for personal refinement of character, just like the period between Pesach and Shavuot and the month of Elul until Yom Kippur. There are even some who observe penitential fasting rituals on Mondays and Thursdays during these six weeks (we Jews have always been diet conscious). Sins, like body fat, can weigh us down.
The point is that there is always more to the story than the story and that is part of the genius and greatness of Torah.
This Shabbat Ruth Bergman teaches at Adat Shalom Synagogue about the move from freedom to slavery and the people who began the process of redemption. 10:00 a.m. Her teaching is amazing and I hope to see you there. Remember that this is very informal and you can come as you are and stay as long or as little as you like.