Biography of Yehuda Katz | Archives | This Week's Parsha
"The Children of Israel were "Chamushim" when they went up from Egypt."(13:18)Rashi comments that "chamushim" means that the Jews left Egypt armed with weapons. A question can be asked, as follows: Why did the Jews have to leave Egypt armed?
These people were slaves,not warriors.G-d promised to bring them to land ,why did they arm themselves?
I would like to propose the following original answer,Bezrat Hashem. When the Jews were slaves in Egypt,they had the slave mantality.They had no concept of free will.Slaves are only trained to follow their task masters orders without question. However, a free man knows and enjoys free-will.
He is constantly making decisions about his welfare,nobody else.The Jews were now being freed and embracing the prospects of freedom. The Jews needed to "arm" themselves with the notion of free will.But how?They therefore symbolically "armed" themselves with weapons to do battle with their newly discovered good and evil inclinations.
They were being sent into "battle", the battle to choose good from evil. They needed weapons,so they armed themselves with weapons as a gesture of preparing themselves for battle.This is how this generation of slaves took their first steps towards freedom.We can as well learn a tremendous lesson from them in this regard.Often people embark on a new path of righteousness , but do not know where to begin? Never delay the first step,do something positive even if its only symbolic.For instance,if someone wants to keep the laws of shabbos better,then right then and there start learning the laws of shabbos without delay.
Take the step.........have a good shabbos
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