Va’era

I will bring you out… and deliver you… and redeem you… and take you as a people.” God famously promises to liberate the people of Israel; the four verbs used are celebrated every Pesach. Yet the verse continues, so why isn’t the fifth verb, “I will bring you into the land of Israel,” also celebrated? Because those spoken to didn’t merit to see the promise fulfilled. Prophecies, whether harsh or hopeful, are not deterministic, they present options. The ultimate truth of the prophecies depends on how they inspire those who open up their hearts to listen to them. Moses later urges the entire people to become prophets: we can all inspire potential futures, and be inspired to make them real.

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[Inspired by: Exodus 6 and Numbers 11:29; Yeshayahu Leibowitz on Vaera, based on Or HaChaim on Exodus 6:8; Bob Marley’s Redemption Song, and the corresponding sculpture in Emancipation Park.]

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