Nisyonos – personal challenges – we all have them, though we wish we didn’t. They reside in that dark place inside us which tries to claim our soul, never tiring in trying to pull us down. What’s more, we face them alone. No fanfare or cheering crowd, just us and the urge to give in. In fact, most of the people we meet have no idea we are in the midst of a struggle and indeed might be jealous of our perceived tumult-less life!
Yet it’s from these dry and often bitter conflicts that personal greatness arises. The poke we give our animal soul gives forth a spark which ignites our G-dly soul, building another brick of our spiritual being.
This coming Shabbos, we’ll remember a test, a big test, perhaps one of the biggest tests in our history. The Yidden – while they were still in Mitzrayim – were told to take a sheep and tie it on their property. They would then tell those asking that they would be bringing it as a korban. A korban! The avoda zara of Mitzrayim, the very item which was worshipped as a deity by their neighbors, would be offered to the Creator of the world.
The Yidden passed the test, bringing forth the great miracle we remember on Shabbos HaGadol.
In truth there was an earlier test in Mitzrayim, the one with Yosef and aishes Potifar. There again, it was Yosef alone in a land of widespread immorality being challenged to define himself as a man of G-d. He withstood the test and eventually became the Yosef we know.
“Bichol dor vador omdim aleinu l’chaloseinu – in every single generation there are those who arise to try and destroy us,” and like in Mitzrayim we need to counter these efforts by leaving our personal Mitzrayim. For some it’s jealousy; for others, anger. It can be sadness, or it can be love of the physical. Whichever it is, we can and will face it head on until we’ve tamed the urge, eventually using the previously negative energy for Torah study, prayer and good deeds.
What follows is “Hakadosh Baruch Hu matzileinu miyadam – the Holy One Blessed Be He saves us from their hands,” returns us to the Promised Land, in a way considered miraculous even relative to the great wonders experienced at the time of our exodus from Egypt!
And this time, the nations of the world will celebrate with us.
May we have an uplifting and miraculous Shabbos HaGadol,
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