One of the main lessons to learn about the Exodus from Egypt, regarding the relationship between the children of Israel and the Creator, is trust. We need to trust in what freedom is in order break away from slavery. In this sense trust is the consequence of knowledge. We trust someone or something as long as we know that we can rely on it. Faith is not blind when it is preceded by trust as a result of knowledge: “In all your ways know Him, and He will straight up your paths.” (Proverbs 3:6).
As long as we know God’s ways as our ways, we know where are we going. When we are bound to harmful addictions and negative patterns, the only way out from them is the knowledge as certainty that there is something much better waiting for us. Some people don’t see a way out simply because they don’t believe that there is something better out there. This is the case when nothing we hear or even consider as a way out offers a real alternative to our current situation, no matter how negative this may be. We can identify this approach as depression. If there is no effective medication to cure it, a miracle is needed.
This was the case of most of the children of Israel at the end of their bondage in Egypt. They needed not only one but many miracles to regain the belief in something better than the meaningless lives they had under Pharaoh’s rule. God’s promise to bring them to the land He swore to their forefathers through miracles such as the Ten Plagues didn’t seem enough. They still doubted the goodness these miracles heralded for them.
The issue then wasn’t belief, faith or trust, but doubt and uncertainty. In this context we can understand better why wiping out the remembrance of Amalek’s is not only a Commandment from God. We are also commanded to remember every day what Amalek did to the children of Israel in their way out from Egypt. In our commentary on Beshalach: “Love as the Meaning of Life” of January 29, 2012 we also refer to this issue.
The lesson therefore is to find the true meaning of life as God tells us in the Torah, and to live by, for and with it all the time. This meaning, as we said before, is Love as the cure for all doubts, hesitations and uncertainties. Love is what we need to believe, what we must know, what we have to live, and what we are compelled to trust. We do this just because Love is our Essence and true identity. We can’t do it if Love is not part of us.
As we start to recognize this, we also begin to realize our permanent connection with the Creator. First we must become aware of Love in order to relate to God’s Love. There is no other way. If we don’t believe, know, or trust who we really are, then how can we do it with God? In this sense, we have to seriously engage in the task to realize our identity amid ego’s fantasies and illusions. This is the dilemma our ancestors faced back in the Exodus, and so do we every day in our lives. This is why we remember daily in the Jewish prayers the transition from slavery to freedom. It’s about the constant struggle for our final Redemption from the illusions in the material world.
Our ancestors time and again distrusted God, despite His miracles because the reference they had about their identity was slavery. Time and again they defied God and didn’t recognize Him, because they didn’t know God as the Source from where everything exists. The Ten Plagues and the miracles, such as the split of the sea and the Manna, were not enough because these were not acknowledged as part of their own consciousness. In other words, all the Creator does must be assimilated as part of ourselves because we all come from Him. At that moment we say, “The Lord is my strength and song, and He is my Redemption; this is my God and I will glorify Him; my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.” (Exodus 15:2).
Our Sages explain that the total destruction of Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea was the definitive signal for the children of Israel to trust God. Once there was no real danger to die or being brought back to Egypt, there was nothing to fear. Our Sages mention this as the reason for the memorable Song of the Sea (15:1-19) we recite every day in the Jewish prayer book.
The recognizance of God’s Love as the Source of our Essence and identity is the beginning to become aware our inherent connection with Him. This explains the words of this song regarding our permanent bond with God’s Love: “In Your unfailing love You will lead the people You have redeemed. In Your strength, You will guide them to Your holy dwelling.” (15:13).
As we said above, Love is our common bond with the Creator which is manifest in a time and space called the Temple of Jerusalem: “You shall bring them in, and plant them In the mountain of Your inheritance, a fixed place for Your dwelling You have made, O Lord; the Sanctuary, O Lord, Your hands have established.” (15:17). Thus we realize that our connection with the Creator is permanent: “The Lord shall reign for ever and ever.” (15:18), and the beginning of this awareness lies in our Essence and true identity.
This is also the beginning of our fundamental belief, faith and trust. King David reminds us: “O Lord of multitudes, happy is the man that trusts in You.” (Psalms 84:12) as well as the Prophet, “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.” (Jeremiah 17:7). The context of this trust is cleaving to God’s Love in contrast to depending on ego’s fantasies and illusions. These are the idols and false gods created by arrogance: “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.” (Psalms 40:4).
God’s Love makes us aware of the goodness of Love’s ways and attributes through which we see the Light in the darkness of ego’s fantasies and illusions. He made our ancestors aware with His miracles in their times, and He also makes us aware of them every day. The lesson is to live them as they manifest also as our common bond with Him.