Kenneth Cohen

Redemption then and Now

The Passover Hagadda asks the question as to why the Seder is held in the evening. The Tanna, Ben Zoma, explains that the extra word in the Torah , “Kol” teaches the Seder should be at night. The Rabbis disagree and say that “Kol” teaches that the exodus story will be told in this world and in the world to come.

The Talmud in Tractate Brachot 12b, refers to a verse in the Book of Jeremiah that states that in the future we will no longer praise G-d for the miracles in Egypt, but we will praise Him for taking us from the north and gathering our people from all of the lands that we were scattered. If this will be the case, the Talmud asks, then we will no longer mention Egypt in the world to come.

The Rabbis answer that while it is true that future miracles will surpass those witnessed in Egypt, we will, nevertheless, still praise G-d for taking us out of Egypt.

My good friend and study partner, Dr. Eli Passow, made a profound observation when this section of Talmud was studied recently. Dr. Passow observed that we have already witnessed miracles in our lifetimes that have surpassed those we enumerated at our Seder. The plagues in Egypt lasted one year before we were driven out of Egypt. Compare those miracles with what we have seen in the last seventy years:

The Jewish population in Palestine in 1800 was 8,000 Jews. Today, we are blessed with over six and a half million Jews from the four corners of the earth.

The image of the Jew has dramatically changed. After suffering the tragic and horrifying Holocaust, Israel and the Jewish people have learned how to defend themselves. Israel is listed as the eighth superpower in the world! And the image of the defenseless, easy to pick on Jew, is over. Today, Jews fight back and they win.

A land that was bemoaned by our prophets as being desolate and non-productive, is filled with the most modern cities. The produce of Israel, is the envy of the world. Even our cows give more milk than any other cows in the world.

Israel has established diplomatic relations with 160 of the 193 nations of the world. They are seeking our guidance in matters of agriculture, technology, and medicine.

When looking at the bigger picture, not only is all of this miraculous of biblical proportions, but we are witnessing the fulfillment of prophecies made over two thousand years ago.

It is far from an exaggeration to say that indeed the miracles we have been privileged to see, if we’d only open our eyes, do surpass that which our ancestors witnessed in Egypt.

Chag Sameach

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at
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