Written by: Rabbi Mordechai Raizman
From Exile to Redemption
This coming week on Tisha B’Av (the fast day remembering the destruction of the Temples) we read from the Kinnos. The Kinnos are a compilation of writings that reflect on the many tragic times in our history during our long exile. There is one kinnah that compares and contrasts the stark difference between when we left Mitzrayim (Egypt) and when we left Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). When leaving Mitzrayim, we were surrounded by a clear hand of G-d. However, when leaving Yerushalayim, we felt all alone. Throughout this kinnah many differences are pointed out between the two events, and at the end of each corresponding contrast the same line is repeated, “This is what happened when we left Mitzrayim; this is what happened when we left Yerushalayim.” A natural question arises: Why the constant comparison between these two experiences? It is clear that we understand the key difference – one was freedom and redemption while the other was exile.
The commentators tell us that the root of the word Mitzrayim is maytzar which means narrow, confined or restricted. On the other hand, the word Yerushalayim is composed of two parts yeru shalem which means to see the completeness in everything. These words deliver a simple message we tend to overlook in our daily lives. Often we are caught up in our narrow and restricted worlds. We get lost in our personal lives and daily challenges and lose sight of the complete picture, forgetting about the people around us, the rest of Klal Yisroel, our brothers and sisters wherever they are in the world. We must realize that we are one family. To transition from exile to redemption we need to leave Mitzrayim, the narrow place, and change our mindset to Yerushalayim, the completeness of all of us as a people.
During these challenging times in the world with anti-Semitism on the rise, we have rallied together in so many ways as a nation and a people. This message is spreading. We need to keep it going constantly. Whenever we are faced with a situation when a fellow Jew is in pain, we have to look beyond ourselves and reach out to help in whatever way we can. With that mindset and change of attitude, we will merit the rebuilding of the Temple. May it be speedily in our days.