Saturday 2 January 2021

Mussar - Meshubadim hayyinu _Abarbanel

originally posted July 9, 2013

I wish to credit the great Don Isaac Abarbanel for this interesting insight!
"And if the Almighty had not rescued us from Egypt, behold we, our children, and grandchildren would still be (meshu'badim) enslaved unto Pharaoh in Egypt!"
Well the Pharaohs haven't ruled Egypt in a long time - and it is hard to visualize us Israelites as slaves unto Pharaoh forever! Plus we would have probably assimilated a LONG while ago into Egyptian society and been just poor old Egyptians just as the rest. To take the statement literally; I.e. That we would still be enslaved is hard to comprehend.

Clear your minds of the image of the "evil Pharaoh". Now go back to the time of Joseph and recall a kindlier, gentler Pharaoh. Now, if the Almighty had chosen, HE could have appointed a liberal-minded Pharaoh.  THAT Pharaoh might have listened to Charlton Heston and willingly, or even joyfully released the Israelites from bondage!

Just as Tsar Nikolai I freed the serfs and Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, a generous Pharaoh could have Let HIS people go without a fight!

What would have been the upshot of such a kinder and gentler ruler? We would be singing "his" praises instead of God's praises!

Thus, Abarbanel homiletically reads meshu'badim in its alternate meaning - mortgaged or indebted or encumbered. Had GOD not forced the issue by bringing Pharaoh unwillingly to his knees we would be be indebted to PHARAOH and not to the Almighty.

Perhaps the most ennobling aspect of our liberation is that we became indentured to GOD HIMSELF. " Kee Lee B'nei Yisro'el Avadim.." The emancipation of other slave societies met with less success. Without Divine intervention and inspiration, "Up from Slavery" succeeded only for the very few idealists.

A sobering thought to precede our last three cups of rejoicing!


1 comment:

Mr. Cohen said...

Where does the Abarbanel say this? Source?

Are Jews Too Powerful? by Alan M. Dershowitz: