For the week ending 9 April 2011 / 4 Nisan 5771

Month of Redemption

by Rabbi Yirmiyahu Ullman -
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From: Carla

Dear Rabbi,

If G-d told Abraham that his descendents would be enslaved in Egypt but would be redeemed, than why did He exile them there in the first place?

Dear Carla,

This question is related to the essence of the month of the redemption itself, Nisan.

One who experiences redemption has emerged from darkness to light. One who has never suffered the oppression of bondage will not fully appreciate redemption. The very essence of redemption is the freedom which has its source in the bondage itself. Had Israel not been enslaved, they would have never experienced true freedom. Once they were enslaved, that very enslavement gave rise to their redemption. From the depth of that darkness light burst forth. Our Sages taught: “Israel said to G-d, Master of the Universe, when will you redeem us? G-d answered, When you descend to the lowest level, at that moment I shall redeem you”.

This occurred in the month of Nisan, which marks the end of winter’s cold darkness and heralds the light and warmth of spring. The name “Nisan”, which literally relates to miracles, also implies the bursting force of the rising sun or the blossoming forth of a flower. It is apropos, then, that the miraculous redemption took place in the month waxing light and burgeoning rebirth.

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