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Bearly recognisable

Written by Rabbi Daniel Leeman

‘Shemos’, the second of the five books of the Torah, is ‘the book of exile and redemption’. In the book of Shemos though, we read not only of the exile and redemption, but also of the giving of the Torah, entering the land of Israel and also all of the lengthy details of the transportation and building of, and finally the service in the Tabernacle. Accordingly it is pointed out, that even though we might have been physically redeemed from Egypt, the spiritual redemption was incomplete until the Children of Israel returned not only to their homeland but also to the level of their forefathers (upon whom the Divine presence dwelled) [1].

And so, just like the very first verse of ‘the book of exile and redemption’ deals with the exile, so too the book continues until the complete, spiritual redemption has taken place [1].
(Excuse me for being pedantic, but…) Why then do we not conclude with the verse “the honour of G-d filled the Tabernacle” [2]? Instead we include the final few verses reiterating how the clouds of glory would ascend above the Tabernacle during the day and how a pillar of fire would take its place at night to the eyes of the Children of Israel throughout their journeys?

R’ Shimshon Dovid Pinkus, of blessed memory, was not exactly one to dress into fancy dress on Purim. But, he related, one year, he indeed dressed up… as a bear. When his young son caught sight of a bear in his house, he became scared; so he ran towards his father-bear and, pulling on his leg called out for help “Daddy! Daddy!”

Night represents the dark times, our exiles, when it is harder to recognise our Father in Heaven. Day represents the redemption when His presence is as clear as day. Perhaps the book of exile and redemption concludes with the presence of the honour of G-d by day and night throughout the journeys of the Children of Israel alluding to G-d’s presence throughout our exiles. When we recognise our Father in Heaven from amidst our dark exile, only then will we be finally redeemed… may it happen speedily in our days – and nights!

Have a bearneficial Shabbos,


Additional sources:
[1] Ramban, intro. to Shemos
[2] Shemos 40:34, 35

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