Written by: Rabbi Mordechai Raizman
In this week’s parsha, we come across the four words that represent different levels of redemption. The first one is vehotzasi, alleviating us from the burdens of Egypt, the second is vhitzalti, saving us from the hard labor, the third is vgoalti, the actual leaving of Egypt, and the last is vlokachti, G-d saying that He will take us for His nation. What does it mean to be the nation of G-d? What responsibilities accompany that relationship?
Chazal tell us that there are three qualities that define the Jewish people: being compassionate, having a sense of embarrassment, and bestowing acts of kindness to others. At a time when we are focused and living up to these values, we represent G-d properly. G-d took us out of Egypt for a purpose. It was not just for freedom from slavery, but freedom for living up to these values and changing the world around us.
I heard a beautiful story that took place at the last Siyum Hashas in MetLife stadium. One of the volunteers inside was handed a ticket by a member of the crowd coming in. The volunteer was told that this was an extra ticket that he had and if the volunteer found someone who needed it, he should please give it to him. The volunteer didn’t think there would be a need for it, but he took the ticket just in case.
A few minutes later an officer outside the gate called this volunteer outside to help him with a situation that was unfolding. There was a man crying, and the officer was trying to calm him down without much success. The man said that he had a ticket for the siyum and had been looking forward to this special day. Unfortunately, when the ticket was scanned, it was discovered that it was not a valid ticket. However, the sad man was convinced that his ticket was authentic and somehow the scanner wasn’t working properly. Security had no choice and refused to let him in.
When the volunteer heard the story, he immediately pulled the ticket out of his pocket that minutes before he had just received and said, “Here, I have an extra ticket. Use this one.”
The officer was amazed exclaiming, “Wow! That is so nice. We usually don’t see things like that happen here.” The volunteer explained that he had just received the ticket a few minutes before from someone who didn’t need it and wanted to help a person if it proved necessary. The officer replied again, “Wow! Your G-d is really unbelievable.”
This is who we are as a people. When we act in the ways that G-d wants us to follow, we are a reflection of G-d in this world and are truly His nation.