Parasha Inspiration – Vaera

לָכֵ֞ן אֱמֹ֥ר לִבְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֘ אֲנִ֣י יְהֹוָה֒ וְהֽוֹצֵאתִ֣י אֶתְכֶ֗ם מִתַּ֨חַת֙ סִבְלֹ֣ת מִצְרַ֔יִם וְהִצַּלְתִּ֥י אֶתְכֶ֖ם מֵֽעֲבֹֽדָתָ֑ם וְגָֽאַלְתִּ֤י אֶתְכֶם֙ בִּזְר֣וֹעַ נְטוּיָ֔ה וּבִשְׁפָטִ֖ים גְּדֹלִֽים: וְלָֽקַחְתִּ֨י אֶתְכֶ֥ם לִי֙ לְעָ֔ם וְהָיִ֥יתִי לָכֶ֖ם לֵֽאלֹהִ֑ים וִֽידַעְתֶּ֗ם כִּ֣י אֲנִ֤י יְהֹוָה֙ אֱלֹ֣הֵיכֶ֔ם הַמּוֹצִ֣יא אֶתְכֶ֔ם מִתַּ֖חַת סִבְל֥וֹת מִצְרָֽיִם:

Therefore, say to the children of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will take you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will save you from their labor, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. And I will take you to Me as a people, and I will be a God to you, and you will know that I am the Lord your God, Who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

Exodus 6:6-7

This week’s parsha contains yet another pivotal statement by Hashem. Hashem gives Israel the four statements of redemption: I will bring you out, I will save you, I will redeem you, and I will take you to me as a people. These four statements set up the relationship of the nation of Israel and Hashem. Through the statements, Israel becomes the one and the only nation of G-d. We see with the statements that Israel is granted a unique position in the world in its relationship to Hashem.

Although we commonly describe these words as a statement, Hashem is actually indicating a process that is about to unfold. Hashem declares that, 1) he will bring us out of Egypt, 2) he will save us, 3) he will redeem us, and 4) he will make us his nation. So the first act of this cosmic production is the Exodus from Egypt. The second act is that Hashem grants Israel salvation, saving us from destruction at the hands of the Egyptian army. The third act is redeeming Israel from Egypt. The fourth act is Hashem making Israel his nation at Sinai.

Hashem is laying out the process of Israel becoming his nation. These are the things that will come to pass, and as they come to pass, Israel will become the nation of Hashem. Israel cannot become the nation of Hashem without these things happening. Israel, who is not a nation, becomes a nation through the processes outlined by Hashem in the parasha. Only after being brought out from Egypt, saved, and redeemed, can Israel become a nation, in fact, the nation of Hashem. Shabbat shalom.

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Rabbi Steven Bernstein

Steve was born on Lag B’Omer in Ann Arbor, MI but was raised in Gainesville, FL. The son of two University of Florida professors, he excelled in the sciences in school. In addition to his normal academic studies, he pursued his Jewish education studying with many Rabbis and professors of Judaic Studies from the University including visiting Rabbis such as Abraham Joshua Heschel and Shlomo Carlebach.