We Were Slaves in Egypt, and Hashem Delivered Us

The Maggid, in his commentary on the Haggadah, notes that it is important to really understand why we are thanking Hashem for taking us out of Egypt. After all, Hashem is the One Who originally put us there. The Maggid gives analogy to a doctor who is healing a broken arm for someone. If the patient came to the doctor with the broken arm, he certainly should thank the doctor for healing it. But if the doctor himself broke the person’s arm, and then healed it, why should the doctor deserve any thanks? Better that he should not have broken the person’s arm in the first place. Seemingly, we could say the same thing about the Exodus: Better that Hashem should not have put us in Egypt in the first place. What, then, are we thanking Hashem for?
The Maggid answers that we are thanking Hashem for making us His holy people; in the Haggadah’s words, for drawing us near to serve Him. The servitude in Egypt was an essential step in the process of preparing us for this mission. Egypt was the iron crucible (Devarim 4:20) through which Hashem purged us of all impurity, just as a smelter puts a piece of silver into fire to purify it. In this way, we became fit to receive the Torah. Thus, in reciting the Haggadah, we declare: “Blessed is the One Who gave Torah to His People Israel.” The final touch was the ten plagues. The wondrous miracles that Hashem performed in bringing the plagues, which involved turning nature inside-out, implanted deep within us a recognition of Hashem as Creator and Master of the universe. With our impurities purged and our hearts imbued with this recognition, we were prepared to become a nation devoted to serving Hashem. Hence, it is incumbent on us to thank Hashem for the enslavement as well as for the deliverance, for both played an key role in bringing us to our lofty station.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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