Bolt of Inspiration 49 - I'm Already There
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The righteousness and illumination of the early forefathers and foremothers seems to have faded as we encounter an almost different group of people in the Book of Exodus. The Israelites are gradually becoming a monolithic slave nation. They are beaten, tired, and spiritually distant. The parshiyos (sections) that form the first half of Exodus is an instruction manual on how we can achieve the return to G-d even when we may feel most distant.
At face value, a Moses, a Aaron, 10 plagues, and a splitting sea all seem like Herculean events way beyond our ability to regain (or capture for the first time) proximity to Hashem. However, as the Rebbe of Kotzk was oft to say - "one must always find a way in." In our generation we may not have Moshe, Aaron, or endless frogs descending upon our enemies but these parshiyos may share an alternative solution.
While the means might have been magnificent, the principle involved in the Exodus is simple. G-d appeared to Moshe. Not Moshe to G-d. G-d works wonders in our lives. G-d clears blocked passages so that we may advance. In Tehilim 23:10 King David writes "אך טוב וחסד ירדפוני כל ימי חיי"- "Goodness and Kindness shall pursue me all the days of my life." G-d's love doesn't wait for us; it is not even far from us. G-d's love chases after us. It looks for ways to free us from our limitations and shake the very foundations of our earth.
With G-d constantly seeking us out, our job becomes straightforward. This time period in the Jewish calendar is called שובבים- as we read the portions of שמות, וארא, בא, בשלח, יתרו, משפטים. שובבים = returns. The Jewish concept of repentance is return, for since G-d is constantly following after us all we need to do is turn around and He's already there.