The word מִצְרָיִם (Mitzrayim: meaning Egypt) also has another definition. It also means “restriction”. It should be striking to us that the name of Parshah this week is בּׂא which means “Go”.
The Torah portion talks greatly on the plagues placed upon מִצְרָיִם and the parshah is called בּׂא. Thus we can see deep spiritual and practical usage out of this understanding.
In the parshah we see that the Jewish people, made a choice. For it is said in Shemot Rabbah 17:3 it says:
“And I will make you a legend unto myself, even though you are as low as a moss, that is said (Exodus 19: 5): And you shall be my glory from all the nations. What is the Holy One, Blessed is He, to protect them with blood, in order to remind them of the blood of the word of Abraham? And in two blood, Israel was saved from Egypt in the blood of Passover and in the blood of Milah....”
(Shemot Rabbah 17:3)
We see we are told the blood of the circumcision was mixed in with the blood of the Passover lamb. Symbolizing the redemption from the land of restriction (aka Egypt), מִצְרָיִם. How so?
In my article “Was Yeshua Really the Passover Lamb”, we established the fact that the Passover Lamb didn’t represent the Messiah of Israel but instead it represented one of the pagan gods worshipped in Egypt. The people were מִצְרָיִם (constricted) because of their worship of pagan gods and the ways of Pharaoh.
The circumcision represents the covenant between us and HaShem. The blood from circumcision mixed with the blood of the lamb represents essentially the death of the old ways and the redemption through the blessing of the Torah of HaShem through HaShem and acknowledgement and consecration unto HaShem. It is through this, when they decided to בּׂא (Go) from the land of מִצְרָיִם (Egypt: Constriction) of those pagan gods stayed in Egypt as well, and the Jews ran from the constriction found in the land.
Think of it in this way. Say a man, is deathly ill. He goes to the doctor, the doctor sends him to the hospital. On his way into the hospital he was worried. In the hospital as they prep him for surgery he is worried, he is also constricted. He is unable to watch the pay per view fight on tv that night at home, he is unable to toss the football with his son, he is unable to sit at the dinner table with his wife. During surgery and during his recovery he is constricted. No walks, no going to Subway for a footlong sub. He is eating hospital food and has to even get permission to use the rest room. Then he leaves the hospital, his condition has improved and he is able to leave. His family takes him home but he still is slightly constricted for a period of time till he fully heals. Then he is better than new. He has broken from his constriction he is better than new.
The hospital stay is likened to the Jews in Egypt. One may ask, was this stay and the slavery in Egypt necessary? The answer is yes. When one is without freedom can they fully appreciate their freedom? Of course and they do so with more gratitude. This is key.
Along the way, we have Baal Peor, we have the golden calf we have the bad report from the spies we have Moshe getting frustrated and striking the rock. We have all these instances where the children of Israel are making great gains and then they do something incredibly stupid. This is like the patient going home but he is slightly restricted by the surgery from the hospital. Moses goes to Sinai, receives the Torah and they thought they were doing a good thing by creating their own god with the Golden Calf. The stitches were still in their body, they still had part of the hospital within them. But then, we see them come into the land.
Was it appreciated more because of the restriction and because of the stumbles along the way? You bet they were. The Messiah tells us:
“If therefore HaBen (the Son) makes you Bnei Chorin (free men), you shall be Bnei Chorin (free men) indeed.”
(John 8:36; The Orthodox Jewish Bible)
This statement in its context from leaving Egypt. The people were free to observe the Torah of HaShem. And no longer restricted fully by Egypt. The Torah of HaShem brings us freedom and life. As it is written:
“In that I command thee today to love Hashem Eloheicha (HaShem your G-d), to walk in His ways, and to be shomer (guardians) over His mitzvot (commandments) and His chukkot (statutes) and His mishpatim (judgements), that thou mayest live and multiply; and Hashem Eloheicha shall bless thee in ha'aretz (the land) whither thou goest to possess it.”
(Deuteronomy 30:16; The Orthodox Jewish Bible)
Life is found in the Torah, observance of it is life and freedom. It is the freedom to receive Hashem’s blessing or to be restricted and not receive His blessings from the Torah.
Thus, one has to shed Egypt each and every single day, if one is going to strive for tzedikim (righteousness). Each day we must strive to battle yetzer hara (the evil inclination) and to leave Egypt. Through each day and each week and each year we stumble, we fall, we build our golden calves, we put ourselves in restriction. But each day, each week, each year, we are restricted a little less. We must constantly בּׂא (go) out from Egypt, and leave restriction behind. Every day we reach a new level, we reach a new understanding but also each day we grow in chochmah (Wisdom) and da’as l’Elohim (knowledge of G-d). It’s a constant progression we never perfect. We leave Egypt each day and every day we get further. Upon our last breathe however is when we reach Gan Eden (The Garden of Eden).