Thursday, January 25, 2018

Fleeing From Our Personal Egypt

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In parshas Beshalach we read, "The king of Egypt was told that the nation (of Israel) has fled." Rashi explains that Pharaoh sent officers along with the Jewish people when they left Egypt, because they said that they were going for three days. When they continued on after the third day, the officers returned to Pharaoh and reported that "the nation has fled."

During the plague of the death of the firstborn, Egypt was willing to do anything to have the Jewish people leave. Why didn't they just say that they are leaving for good? What is the deeper meaning of the Jewish people fleeing from Egypt?

To understand this, let us look at another Pesach law.

At the Seder, in order to fulfill our obligation of eating matzah, we have to have lechem oni, bread of affliction, which means that it only has two ingredients, flour and water.

However, there is another kind of matzah, called matzah ashira, rich matzah, which is made with wine, oil, honey or other fruit juices, so that it has a good taste. Also, as long as it doesn't have any water mixed into the dough, it will never become chametz (leavened), but if any amount of water is added to the mix, it will rapidly become chametz, quicker than flour and water alone. One cannot fulfill the obligation of eating matzah, with matzah ashira.

The reason for this is because when it comes to the mitzvah of eating matzah for future generations, the verse says, "You shall not eat (the Pesach offering) with chametz, seven days you must eat matzah, lechem oni (bread of affliction), because you went out of Egypt hastily." Since it says, "lechem oni," we know that it can't be matzah ashira, and because it says, "You shall not eat (the Pesach offering) with chametz," we know that it has to be able to become chametz, in other words, it has to have water in the mix, and we have to be careful that it doesn't become chametz.

The reason that the verse gives for both (that it has to be able to become chametz and that it has to be lechem oni), is "because you went out of Egypt hastily." This is the same as fleeing Egypt, "the nation (of Israel) has fled."

This is all with regards to the Pesach of later generations, but by the first Pesach Seder, before leaving Egypt, there was the possibility of having matzah ashira, because it doesn't say "lechem oni," but it had to be able to become chametz, as it says, "and you should guard the matzahs," meaning, that you should not allow it to become chametz. However, at the actual time of the Exodus, they only had lechem oni.

This is all with regards to the Exodus from Egypt. However, when Moshiach comes we will not flee, as it says, "You will not go in haste."

What is the symbolism of matzah ashira and lechem oni?

Lechem oni doesn't have much flavor. It is symbolic of serving Hashem by accepting the yoke of serving Him. This is done through hard work and effort, submitting yourself to His will, even though you may not be there spiritually, going against your own desires, forcing yourself to do what Hashem wants.

Matzah ashira, on the other hand, has flavor, it symbolizes serving Hashem through understanding. This is pleasurable because you want to do it, because through your understanding you become in sync with Hashem's will, until it becomes your own.

When leaving Egypt they had to flee, because "The bad in the lives of (the people of) Israel was still prevalent," they were not yet in sync with Hashem's will. That would only happen later, after much work, by the giving of the Torah. And this is true about our lives now. Whenever we are in a negative spiritual phase, an Egypt of our own, we must force ourselves to do what is right, and flee from the negative. Only later on will we be able to become in sync with Hashem.

When Moshiach comes, we will be in perfect sync with Hashem's will, so we won't have to go in haste, we won't have to flee.

Yet we see an interesting thing. The verse that tells us about the mitzvah of matzah for future generations continues, "in order that you will remember the day that you left Egypt all the days of your life." In the Haggadah we read, that this means "including the days of Moshiach." You may ask, why do we have to remember the Exodus when Moshiach comes? If we will be in sync with Hashem's will, what kind of Egypt will we have to break free from?

The answer is, none. But there will be one aspect of the Exodus from Egypt that we should continue, in line with accepting Hashem's yoke, that we should put in the effort and hard work in our service to Hashem.

On the other hand, by the Exodus from Egypt it says. "And I will raise you also raise." Why does it say "raise" twice? The first is the Exodus from Egypt, and the second is the coming of Moshiach, because at the time of the Exodus, there was also an aspect of Moshiach that we had to be cognizant of, and this is true about any personal Egypt. We have to know, that our hard work will eventually lead to becoming in sync with Hashem.

This is also why after the splitting of the sea, in the Song of the Sea, there are allusions to the coming of Moshiach. Because that was the conclusion of the Exodus from Egypt.

Laying here in my bed, unable to move or speak, unable to hug or kiss my precious children, I am in a physical Egypt. However, I know in my heart, that Hashem has put me here for a reason, to uplift people through my writings, my heart and my smile. That is why I work so hard writing these Dvar Torahs with my eyes.

I know that eventually I will go out of my Egypt, and be able to teach Torah with my mouth, and write these Dvar Torahs with my hand. I will be able to do father and husband things for my wife and children. Either by cure, by miracle or with the coming of Moshiach.

May we break free from our personal Egypts, and become in sync with Hashem, whether it be a physical, spiritual, emotional or psychological Egypt. Our personal redemption will lead to the ultimate redemption, the coming of Moshiach. May he come soon. 

This Sunday Team Yitzi will be running in the Miami Half Marathon, including my wife Dina and my daughter. Please support our teams fundraising efforts by donating what you can at what you can at
It is tax deductible and every penny goes to the Hurwitz Family Fund.

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