The Four Expressions

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29 Jun 2006

In Shemot (6:6-7), there appear four expressions of Redemption:

“Therefore, say to the Children of Israel, ‘I am Hashem and I shall take you out from under the burdens of Egypt; I shall save you from their service; I shall redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great punishments; I shall take you to me as a People, and I shall be a G-d to you;…’ “

4 CupsSome add a fifth expression mentioned there (Shemot 6:8), “And I shall bring you to the Land which I have sworn to give to Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov; And I have now given it as an inheritance to you, I am the L-rd.”

If the first four expressions correspond to the Four Cups of Wine, then this last expression is related to the Cup poured for Eliyahu HaNavi, Elijah the Prophet, who is viewed in Jewish Tradition as the Herald of the Mashiach.

According to R. Bachya (Spain, 1263-1340), the explanations of the Four Expressions are as follows:

1. “I will take you out” – Hashem would remove the slavery even before the Jews left Egypt, from all the Tribes of Israel, because of the growing perception by Egypt of Hashem, the G-d of Israel, as the One Almighty G-d.

2. “I shall save you” – Hashem would take the Jews out of Egypt with plagues visited upon the Egyptians, their Pharaoh and their gods, “with a strong hand and an outstretched arm.”

3. “I shall redeem you” – Hashem would perform the miracle of “Kriat Yam Suf,” the Splitting of the waters of the “Yam Suf,” and the creation of a dry path for the Children of Israel to walk upon as they crossed the Sea of Reeds. Then Hashem caused the piled-high waters to descend in a tidal wave upon the Egyptian Army, to permanently crush the World-dominating power of Egypt.

4. “I shall take you” – Hashem took the Jewish People to Himself as a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation. This was the spiritual component of the Redemption from Egypt. In fact, the spiritual Redemption was the Reason for the Physical Redemption.

The fifth expression, “I shall bring you to the land,” refers, of course, to the Land of Israel. It seems clear that we are already in the Period of “Kibbutz Galuyot,” “Ingathering of the Exiles,” the most recent communities having accomplished major “aliyot” (immigrations to Israel) being the Ethiopian, the Yemenite and the Russian (ongoing) communities.

Once the West, in particular the United States, will become the source of a steady stream of “olim” (those who “go up,” immigrants to Israel), motivated by religious convictions, the face of Israel will change, G-d Willing, for the better.