Archive for January 2015

Why did Pharaoh Chase the Jews One Last Time?



One of the old time questions that one has to scratch his head and ask, why did Pharaoh, after getting beat up with all the plagues, choose to reconsider and chase after the Jews. If that’s not the ultimate HELLO!! Then try this – he sees the sea split! Yes, that’s right; G-d accommodates the Israelites big time and rolls out the red carpet in the middle of the sea for them to pass. Now, if I’m not Jewish and I see those events before my eyes, I would call up, or look up on the internet the nearest mohel, because I’m sold. Nevertheless, Pharaoh, with all his force, with all his firepower, pursues the Jews and still thinks he can beat them; go figure.

If we look at the events more carefully, we’ll be able to see the measure for measure, which G-d dictates on this world. Although sometimes G-d’s measure for measure requires more then one lifetime, but that’s for a different discussion.

In essence, the message to Pharaoh “you threw and killed Jewish babies at sea, I’ll kill you (the Egyptians) at sea!” We know the reason why Pharaoh was motivated to instruct his soldiers to do such a monstrous act because of his horoscope advisors who warned him of a threat. An Israelite born at a certain juncture in time will have the power to destroy you, and his demise will be from water. Therefore, Pharaoh chose the method of destruction for the Jewish babies, who were born at a certain time, through the Nile River, water. After the death of the first born, the last plague, Pharaoh was ready to finally give up on the Jews. However, when his sources informed him that the Israelites were in course, en route towards the sea, he figured the horoscope was coming into fruition. This is where Moshe, the Jewish leader, was destined to die and he, Pharaoh, will have the glorious task to finish him off at sea. The horoscope, however, was correct though, but Pharaoh’s calculation of time was premature, indeed; Moshe’s demise was water. When G-d told him to speak to the rock and Moshe, instead, hit it and water came out. For this reason, he was punished by not entering the Promised Land, Israel.

Should I take on more responsibility?

This article was constructed with the help of either writings, lectures or shiurim of Rabbi’s      Akiva Grunblatt, Baruch Dopelt, Yossi Bilus, Yitzchak Aminov, Dr. Abba Goldman

Regret was eating him up as his critics approached Pharaoh with disapproval, snickering gestures and complained “How can you let the Jews go?” Human nature is such that that it allows peer pressure to seep through the armor of logic. Although, it was just yesterday that the Egyptians were removing frogs out of their soup. It seems like one tends to forget these minor annoyances. When it was known, a little while later, that the Israelites are heading toward the sea and appear lost, all eyes turned to Pharaoh. “Nu? What’s now?” as the generals relishing an opportunity.

 Pharaoh, forgetting all the signs that G-d has shown, turned with new charged vigor, and roared:  “Gather your horses and your armor, we got them!!”
 The Israelites, under the leadership of Moshe, approached the sea. “Now what” some of the critics bellowed. It seems – everybody has critics. Perhaps, at times, that’s necessary; it keeps you on your toes. It’s also important, for it gives one a perspective one may have overlooked.   Although, at times, if one gives in to the pressure and goes against his original decision, it might not work out quite well.
 The “now what” became amplified with a very worried concern attached to it as the Israelites heard rumbling sounds behind them. The Egyptian army was approaching full force toward them. It seems like the Jews were trapped. There was no place to go but the sea. Moshe’s response to the Jewish people was that “G-d wants us to go through the sea”. However, no one dared to take such an illogical step.
 Well, what is logic? Is our religion – logical or perhaps not? Perhaps, religion is a belief which defies logic. Perhaps, belief becomes the logic?
If one believes in something and knows that it’s 100% full-proofs right and doesn’t act on it because of what others might think… is he insulting himself? He might have regret and say: “I am missing out on what I truly believe in, and I know it’s right!”
 There was one person who understood that belief in G-d overrides nature. Many, who were present there – believed in G-d and that He runs the world, but were hesitant to take that plunge into the sea. They, perhaps, knew that jumping in the water was the right path to take but… were afraid. However, one individual had the courage to act on his belief. One person was the first to take the risk. One person was willing to boldly go and lead the Jews into uncharted territory. That individual was Nachshon ben Aminadav.
 The waters reached his mouth as he plunged into the sea when it suddenly split. One of the greatest on sights, open miracles in the history of mankind occurred… propelled by Nachshon ben Aminadav.
 By examining this courageous act of Nachshon we can learn something tremendous that can improve our lives and strengthen our character. Rabbi Akiva Grunbatt brings up the following question and answer where then we can fully understand Nachshon’s actions.
 There are four individuals who died because of the sin of the snake and nothing else. They never sinned. Can one imagine that an individual can live an entire lifetime and be sin-free?! Benyamin, the first, Yaacov’s twelfth son; Yishay, he was the father of King David: Kalev, he was one of the Jewish spies that entered Israel while the Israelites were in the dessert. Amram rounds out the quartet; he was Moshe – our greatest leader’s father.
 However, a strong question is asked, when one makes a MESHEH BERACH AVOTAINU-a special prayer invoking G-d’s mercy, it does not include any of the righteous people that never sinned!!
 We say MISHEH BERACH AVOTAINU: AVRAHAM, YITZCHAK, YAACOV etc. Why don’t we say instead BENYAMIN, YISHAI, KALEV and AMRAM? After all, these tzadikim were great; they never sinned.
We learn an important fundamental lesson, greatness cannot be measured by lack of sin; we look at the accomplishments. To do what you’re supposed to do is beautiful, however, to take the extra step, to go the extra mile; to take upon more responsibility is the road to greatness!!
 As a matter of fact, once one takes upon oneself the extra responsibility, he discovers hidden KOCHOT-strengths. If one looks at some of our great leaders’ lifestyle, one wonders – how do they find time? How are they able to cope? They are not the type to say “hey, that’s not my job….I’m not responsible”. Even if one fails in his job after taking the tremendous responsibility, he becomes a greater person, through the experience of his effort.
 There is an interesting story about the Netziv – Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin, (b. Mir, Russia, 1816 – d. Warsaw, Poland, August 10, 1893) that relates to responsibility. It is written about the Netziv, there are no fantastic accounts concerning the boy who was to become the Rav of Israel. It may be that he was not a “child prodigy” that amazed everyone by his natural talents, or it may also be that he was modest from a very young age. However, one thing is clear: he had at least one great talent – his diligence!! He studied Torah with great fervor, and it was this trait that enabled him to acquire universal renown.
 Only the brightest students and it was a minimal amount, were given the opportunity to learn in Yeshiva. Most boys were sent to learn a trait and start work immediately.
One day he overhears his father tell his mother “he’s just not talented to stay in Yeshiva. The father called his son and said he wanted to introduce him to a friend who is a shoemaker. The Netziv understood immediately what his father’s intentions. The child begged and cried that they should give him one more chance promising he will not disappoint them. The boy lived up to his promise. He later said: “if I would have given up and became a shoemaker, after 120 years when I go to the heavens, although I would have been a honest shoemaker, pray three times a day, raise a family with strong Torah values, and I would set time to learn every night after work, however, they will show me a copy of my book the Ha’amek Davar and say to me “this is the masterpiece you would have written if you would have excelled in your life”.  I, then, would have been ashamed.”
When our forefather, Yaacov, was on his deathbed he gave the bracha, he basically anointed the position of leadership to Yehuda, who has shown on many occasions the “responsibility to accomplish”. Such honor has been given to one who takes upon himself more responsibility.
 When Yaacov did not want to send Benyamin, his youngest son and presumably the only remaining one from his favorite wife, Rachel, on account that some bad omen might happen to him similar to what had happened to his older brother  Yossef, Yehuda took responsibility in assuring his safe return. “I will personally guarantee him” (Bereshit 43:9) Yaacov accepted Yehuda’s proposition. However, Rabbi Dopelt asks: “what is the difference between Yehuda’s assurance (I will lose my portion in this world and in the next world) and Ruben’s, his older brother’s, assurance (kill my 2 sons if I do not return him safely)? Both have a very negative outcome; no father wants to see anything bad happen to his children whether it is in this world or the next.
 Yehuda used the magic word “guarantee”; a guarantor is responsible even when it’s an OHNESS- an unavoidable mishap.  Therefore, he will step up a notch; raise the volume on protecting what he guaranteed. The responsibility is much greater! The virtue of Yehuda was the ability to go beyond what is on the radar of others. For, in order to succeed in the optimal level, one has to go beyond the face value of his ability.
We see throughout our holy scriptures how our ancestors took great responsibilities in bettering their lot and assuring the world to be a better place. King David, who is Yehuda’s descendant, volunteered to duel the giant Goliath; Avraham’s commitment to open his doors to passerby’s…..we can go on and on and on… It seems like the ones who get the recognition are the ones that take that initiative.
 However, one has to be aware of the danger in taking, at times, too much responsibility. We recite in the evening prayers before the AMIDA, “VEHASER SATAN MILFANANU VEHACHARONANU”-remove the evil angel from in front of us and from behind us.
It’s understandable, the first part of the phrase: the angel puts a juicy non- kosher steak “in front” of you. However, how do we learn the second phrase? It refers to what could go wrong with too much responsibility. The bad advice: angel pushes you from behind and tells you “hey, you can do it!!” But in reality, by accepting the task, one is welcoming disaster.
 Therefore one has to think it over and ask advice in order to make a calculating and hopefully productive choice.
 Nachshon ben Aminadav, who happens to be from the descendant of Yehuda and the ancestor of King David, took the initiative. The splitting of the sea was jump started and initiated by Nachshon. Every morning when  we read AZ YASHIR Nachshon is in the forefront of not only getting credit for having true belief in G-d but also a trait that we should all possess, the trait of taking responsibility and making this world a better place

The influence of the evil empire


There are two interesting questions pertaining to the Jews leaving Egypt. Firstly, one would think that when leaving Egypt, the Parsha would start off with trumpet-like-fiesta introduction. After all, it’s been two hundred and ten years under slavery and now the Jews are free; free to serve G-d, free to keep Shabbat, free to do all the mitzvot, free to have nice kiddushes on Shabbat!! Instead the Parsha begins with the word VAYEHI, which connotes negativity. WHY ARE WE NEGATIVE? WE JUST LEFT SLAVERY!!!


The second question is, if one notices, in all our prayers we say ZECHER YITZIAT MITZRAYIM – “remembrance of the exodus out of Egypt”. However, that translation is not correct. It should say YETZIAT MEMITZRAYIM – “going out from Egypt. Why do we say YETZIAT MITZRAYIM?


The answer is that Pharaoh was a wicked man and Egypt was the most impure country in the history of the world. In fact, the Rambam, Maimonides, who lived in Egypt, mentions in his Introduction to his books that “I am sinning every moment that I’m residing here”. Pharaoh purposely escorted the Israelites out of Egypt. In the process, he put a seal of the impurity that was the essence of the evil empire. That’s the reason why it starts off with the word Vayehi – bad. The impurity, the negative energy, continued into the nation of Israel. Most of the Jews who left Egypt died in the desert. It was only the next generation that entered the Promised Land.


When we say YETZIAT MITZRAYIM, that means that Egypt should go out of you, the impurity shall depart. We should be free and clear of the impurities of that evil empire and we shall be the pure souls that will achieve greatness as the chosen Jewish people.

The Essence of Bircat Hamazon (grace after meal)


In this week’s Parsha, we rid ourselves of Pharaoh and of Egypt as we leave and start our journey to the Promised Land. It was a monumental event and one that we remember often in our prayers and holidays.

If one is sensitive and smart enough, he will realize that man is here on earth for a very brief time and is given opportunities to accomplish his mission. While he’s working on fulfilling his goals, he is provided with nourishment to sustain himself. The sustenance which G-d provides should be appreciated. We show appreciation by saying brachot before and after we eat. Food is the fuel that keeps us going. As a matter of fact, perhaps the appreciation we demonstrate for the food might be part of man’s mission.


The Sages enacted Bircat Hamazon-Grace after Meals, so that we can thank G-d for that pastrami sandwich. It says in the Torah “VE-ACHALTA VE-SAVATA UBERACHTA” – “one eats then he’s satiated then he blesses”. This is the main biblical source for the grace after meals.


Looking carefully at Bircat Hamazon, one realizes that we mention how G-d took us out of Egypt. The exodus was a miracle and it showed His mighty hand. However, what is the purpose of mentioning this in Bircat Hamazon?  Yes, I quenched my desire and am now able to perform the duties which HE placed on me, but what does the exodus from Egypt have to do with thanking HIM for my meal? What does my pastrami sandwich have to do with the price of tea in china?


In order to understand, we have to learn a fundamental Jewish concept. There are four types of life in the world. The lowest level is an inanimate object, called DOMEM. DOMEM consists of rocks, earth, a table etc. Next level up is TZOMEACH which is vegetation, for example, flowers. A step higher is CHAI which consists of animals. The highest level is us, Humans, we are called MEDABER. The literal translation means to speak.


Let’s examine the main biblical source of Bircat Hamazon. It is important to understand what the root of the word ACHILA- to eat, is. ACHILA could come from two roots, let us explore both.

One meaning is to break down, to devour. The root word in Hebrew is KILAYON. For instance, an animal tears apart its prey.


Another root that ACHILA can be derived from is the word KALAH, which means complete, perfect.

The Sages found two roots of the word ACHILA-to eat. We see with our own eyes how both roots of ACHILA are correct and it depends on us as to how we utilize and “label” it.


Let’s take soil, which is the inanimate object of DOMEM, and plant seeds in it. Within a short period of time after planting the seeds, plants and vegetation will grow. This is called TZOMEACH. The animals, CHAI, then proceed to eat the vegetation. Man, MEDABER, then captures the animal, slaughters it, and then consumes it. Now man has nourishment to complete his mission in life and be perfect. This is what ACHILA is intended for, to reach perfection.


We can also use the other definition and eat like an animal by tearing apart the food for pleasure only without reaching any goal and without reaching perfection. Clearly, the choice and power is ours.

G-d kept on telling Moshe to tell Pharaoh, “let my people go so that they shall serve me”. Hashem was demanding, “Let them go so that they can be complete in their mission”. This is the only reason why the Jews were let go, to achieve perfection.


The essence of BIRKAT HAMAZON is chiefly to bless and appreciate G-d for what he gave us. The only way to bless Him is to have our freedom. For this reason G-d took us out of Egypt. Secondly, and equally as important, to fuel us so that we can complete our mission in life and truly attain perfection

Reason for circumcision

This article was constructed with the help of either writings, lectures or shiurim of Rabbi’s  Pinchas Winston Yossi Bilus and Paysach Krohn

In 2011, a group in San Francisco opposed to male circumcision has collected enough signatures to put the issue to a vote in the November elections; violators would be subject to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. In Europe, “human rights” groups have mounted a grass roots campaign opposing circumcision, comparing it to the brutal mutilation of African women. The Netherlands Institute of Human Rights wants to outlaw Brit Milah.

Here we go again. It seems like another controversial issue centering on a Jewish topic… Ever wonder why the world always puts us front and center in their discussion?
 Circumcision has been known to offer virtually complete protection from penile cancer. According to a recent review article in the New England Journal of Medicine, none of the over 1,600 persons studied with this cancer had been circumcised in infancy. In the words of researchers Cochen and McCurdy, the incidence of penile cancer in the U.S. is “essentially zero” among circumcised men.
The incidence of penile cancer is essentially zero among circumcised men.
Also, researchers at Johns Hopkins University Medical School in Baltimore have shown that circumcised men are six to eight times less likely to become infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Researchers believe that protection is due to the removal of the foreskin, which contains cells that have HIV receptors which scientists suspect are the primary entry point for the HIV virus. (Reuters, March 25, 2004)
Several studies reported that circumcised boys were between 10-to-39 times less likely to develop urinary tract infections during infancy than uncircumcised boys. In addition, circumcision protects against bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections and a variety of other conditions related to hygiene. The extremely low rate of cervical cancer in Jewish women (9-to-22 times less than among non-Jewish women) is thought to be related to the practice of circumcision.
As a result of studies like these, a number of prestigious medical organizations have recognized the benefits of circumcision, and the California Medical Association has endorsed circumcision as an “effective public health measure.”
The ceremony of the Brit Milah is one that is very dear to us and it’s been practiced since the time of our forefather Avraham on the eighth day of the child’s birth for four thousand years:
The covenant that is made at the Brit Milah is the joining together of the past, the present and the future of the Jewish people.  Avraham, our forefather, who was the first one to receive a circumcision, represents our glorious past. Those assembled at the Brit, friends, family and distinguished guests, represent the present. Finally, Eliyahu Ha’navi, the messenger of the Redemption, represents the future. So in essence it’s a monumental event of assembling the chain of life through the generation, a wonderful tradition. The first thought one thinks of about the Brit Milah ,  this child  is entering in the congregation of the Jewish people, an allusive club of being labeled chosen!!  He now has an illustrious opportunity of experiencing the adventure of spinning draidels, bagels and lox, bar mitzvah, kiddush clubs and eating a whole matzah at the seder night within seven minutes… Yes, it’s one of many Jewish experiences, along with connecting with ones family on Shabbat and holidays. These are experiences that are etched in our memories for a lifetime.
We learn that the Brit Milah was an essential part of forming the Jewish nation. As a matter of fact, it was one of two conditions that were to be performed in order for us to be taken to the next level and pry ourselves from the depths of bondage.

In this week’s parsha we see that one of the commandments the Jews were not careful about was circumcision. Although, G-d showed mercy and had intention to save his chosen people, however, the Israelites,  were empty of mitzvot.   When the time came for the G-d to fulfill His promise to Avraham Avinu, Israel had no mitzvot to justify their redemption. G-d then gave them the mitzvot of the Brit Milah and the Korban Pesach to perform immediately in order to have something in the bank. These two commandments, if performed, were the ticket out.
  The first: the Passover sacrifice (Hebrew: Korban Pesach קרבן פסח),  is the sacrifice that the Torah mandates to be brought on the eve of Passover. The blood of this sacrifice sprinkled on the door-posts of the Israelites was to be a sign to G-d, when passing through the land to slay the first-born of the Egyptians that night that he should pass by the houses of the Israelites.
  Along with the blood of the korban Pesach, the Israelites were instructed to place on the door post blood from the Milah. Apparently, the Brit and the Pesach are in essence one and the same mitzvah, expressed in two ways. Regarding the paschal lamb we are told that “The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are staying” (12:13). This notion of a “sign” is also found by the mitzva of Brit Milah. “You shall be circumcised through the flesh of your foreskin. This shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you” (Genesis 17:11).
Blood is the life-force of a human being. For this reason we repeat at a Brit Mila ceremony the phrase “live with your blood”. With these two commandments being fulfilled,  the Jews were saved from the last plague, “the killing of the first born” from death, which devastated their tormentors, the Egyptians.
The ritual and the act of circumcision, although well accepted among the Jewish people, seems, at the very least, very profound. Why is it so important? Why does it involve the private part? Furthermore, “Brit Milah” actually means “the covenant of words”. What does speech have to do with the act of circumcision? And why was it introduced to Avraham?
     Why was his name changed from Avram to Avraham?
  We can find a tremendous amount of answers probing into the first man who was circumcised, Avraham.  He performed the mitzvah of Milah,  at the age of ninety-nine years. For, it was Milah, that’s elevated Avraham to an ultimate level of relationship with His Creator, removing any last spiritual barrier that may have stood between him and G-d:
 When Avram was ninety-nine years old, G-d appeared to Avram and said to him, ‘I am Kel-Shakai- walk before Me and be perfect.’ Bereishit 17:1
 The actual command to circumcise himself comes in the Torah after Avraham fought a successful campaign against the kings of Canaan (to free his nephew Lot who had been taken captive). It was then that G-d approached Avraham and said:
 You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, as a sign of the covenant between Me and you. At the age of eight days, you shall circumcise every male child born to you throughout the generations … (Bereishis 17:11-1)
 There are two aspects of the mitzvah referred to in the verse. Firstly, Milah is a sign of the covenant between Avraham and G-d; secondly, Milah is to take place on the eighth day from birth. We should take note of the point in Parshat Lech Lecha at which the Mitzvah is commanded after Avraham’s successful winning of the Canaanite kings and after, what seems to be, an unusual reaction by Avraham.
Once he had successfully subdued the enemy nations, and had restored the previously defeated kings, they gathered to pick up the pieces and to pay homage to Avraham. The king of S’dom offered Avraham:
 “Give me the people, and the possessions take for yourself.” (Bereishis 14:21)
 At face value, the offer of the king of S’dom seems like a nice gesture. However, from Avraham’s reaction (or rather, over-reaction) to it, we understand that the king of S’dom was trying to trick Avraham:
 ‘I have vowed to G-d, the Most High, the Owner of heaven and earth! I will not take even a thread to a shoelace from anything of yours. You will not be able to say, ‘I made Avraham rich.’
 Was Avraham being melodramatic? Would not a polite refusal, “no thank you….maybe some other time” have accomplished the same purpose, without making a scene? Furthermore, if Avraham was so worried about taking money from anyone but G-d, why did he not put up the same resistance when Pharaoh loaded him down with riches? In Egypt, Avraham seemed completely unbothered when Pharaoh showered him with gifts to send him off back to Canaan.  “Just pile the wagon and don’t worry if it’s full; there’s another coming”.
 The difference between the two gifts was not in the giving itself, but the circumstances that led to the giving. In each case, it was a miracle that led to Avraham finding favor in the eyes of his benefactor. However, the nature of the miracle was different. In Egypt, G-d had performed an obvious miracle when he sent the plague to Pharaoh and his entire household. The victory over the Canaanite kings, on the other hand, was a less obvious miracle, since Avraham had to fight the war.
 For Pharaoh, there was no way to view Avraham’s “victory” as being anything other than a miracle of G-d. Avraham did not go to war against him; on the contrary, Avraham waited passively while G-d inflicted Pharaoh and his court with sickness. In essence he was a helpless bystander waiting for his wife to emerge unscathed because of protection from above. Pharaoh desired his wife Sarah. Therefore, any reason Pharaoh might have to give to Avraham could only be viewed as the will of G-d. Pharaoh saw his giving as an obvious fulfillment of G-d’s promise to make Avraham a wealthy man. As such, it was also a tremendous sanctification of G-d’s name.
 However, the king of S’dom could view Avraham’s success in terms of natural forces, since he did fight. Perhaps, he was a good sharp shooter. Perhaps, he was physically stronger than some of those kings. Therefore, any booty Avraham might take would not necessarily appear as a fulfillment of G-d’s promise, and therefore, it could lack the potential to sanctify G-d’s name. This, Avraham could not accept. By emphatically refusing the offer, and by stating why, “it was G-d’s strength, not mine!!!” Avraham sanctified G-d’s name. He also, perhaps unbeknown to him at the time, rose to a whole new spiritual level, for which Bris Milah would be the reward!


The first man, Adam,  was created circumcised, as it says, “God created man in His image …” (Bereishis 2:5). Avot d’Rav Nossat 2:5

Rav Yitzchak said, [Adam] caused his foreskin to be extended [and cover his circumcision]. Sanhedrin 38b


Adam made a mistake with the growth of the Orlah (foreskin).. For, whether we are talking about “Orlat HaLeiv” (uncircumcised heart), “Orel S’fataim “(uncircumcised lips), or “Orlah” from a tree (fruits of the third year), the word Orlah always implies a spiritual “barrier” between man and G-d which has to be removed.


When Adam ate from the tree, he plunged mankind into the world of nature. By depending upon the physical world to develop himself and his relationship to God, he in fact created a barrier between himself and God. He hardened his heart (Orlas HaLeiv), he reduced his G-dly power of speech (Orel S’fataim), he made the tree a barrier (Orlah), and abused his creative potential (symbolized by the Orlah removed by Bris Milah).


Avraham was well known for his trait of kindness. The Zohar says the “giving” trait found in cheesed-kindness, if taken to an extreme, would inevitably cause one to succumb to illicit relations. Anyone with that super kindness trait is susceptible. As of matter of fact, Yishmael, Avrahams other son, inherited that trait from his father but was not able to control it.

The Sages say Avraham was shalom (perfect/full/complete.) He perfected all his traits except this one. As one naturally realizes, concentration can be most difficult. By commanding Avraham to perform Brit Milah it now made him perfect. Limitation was set on this organ. There is a certain segula, or spiritual merit, found with the ceremony of brit milan, where one’s understanding of Jewish wisdom is increased. Everytime Avraham looked at his circumcision he would realize the limitation on the trait of chessed. It was not only a sign, a covenant with G-d, but a deterent. This courageous act led to having his one true heir, Yitzchak.


When Avraham melodramatically expressed his complete dependence on God for his physical sustenance, he demonstrated his unwavering commitment to live above nature. As a consequence, he was provided with the means to remove all the Orlot Adam’s mistake had brought to mankind. This is the Brit Milah which is performed on the eighth day (eight always symbolizes the spiritual, supernatural realm, as we see through Chanukah as well).


The Mystics say by having the brit and its ceremony spiritual energies are infused into the boy. These are the tools necessary to be able to comprehend the Torah in a different realm..There are also thirteen times, in  parsha Lech Lecha where G-d mentions his covenant with Avraham. This is to offset the thirteen attributes of G-d. The Thirteen attributes of G-d is mentioned on Yom Kippur and is a focal point in our quest for forgiveness. It can only be applied if the Jew is circumcised. Rabbi Pesach Krohn teaches us with the infused energy that the boy gets at the brit comes a name. A name defines the task that this boy will do in life. This is the reason Avraham’s name was changed the day he was circumcised.


Korban Pesach is a Biblical commandment of the highest order, with the command repeated and amplified to us in three different places: Exodus 12, 3-12, Numbers 9, 1-13 and Deuteronomy 16.

Just as circumcision, the first commandment imposed on an individual Jew, our forefather Abraham brought us into the covenant as individuals, the commandment of Korban Pesach, the first commandment imposed on the Jewish People as a collective–obligating men, women and even children–brings us into the covenant as a People.

Dance to the beat

Dance to the beat

  As I was becoming more interested in learning Torah and exploring the ‘black-hat’ American Orthodox world, I discovered something very interesting. At a friend’s ultra-Orthodox wedding, I overheard someone of importance showing concern at the ‘laibidig’ fast-beat music that was being played. I remember saying to myself, “Man, get real. This is right-wing Jewish music. What’s your problem?” There are no women singers or naughty lyrics; it’s harmless. After doing some inquiries about the subject, curious that I am, I discovered the Rabbis (unofficially) are not in favor of fast-paced music; it makes the individual lightheaded. Although they will not implement any action against the fast-paced music, however, their disapproval is weighed heavily.
I felt that the Orthodox religious authorities were making a big deal out of this and are stifling the ability for the youngsters to let out some steam on the dance floor. Hey! I want to be religious and have a good time as well. Then a number of years later, I read an article in the New York Times about a new fast-beat music called trance, where there was concern on the behavior of the listeners. The rhythm and beat of trance is faster than Rock-n-Roll and R&B; the BPM reaches 140 as compared to Rock’s 120.The article showed reports of people caught speeding because of listening to the faster paced computer-generated music; it seems like it’s harder to produce that kind of speed with the conventional instruments. The response of the offenders was, “I just got carried away with the music and didn’t realize the speed”. Reports show a change of brainwave activities.
The Jewish Rabbinical authorities were concerned about the light- headedness that some music can cause. There is an argument among the Rabbis over the last 500 years when listening to music. Although they say it’s therapeutic, however, it has to be listened to at appropriate times. Judaism emphatically believes that the intellect should always be in control of emotions. Perhaps there should be some regulations or at least awareness of the affects of music.

Tricking Pharaoh: a lesson in life

Dvar Torah based on the writings of Y. Nachshoni on weekly parsha  
We see something very interesting in this week’s parsha. Every aspect in life is connected. Unfortunately, many times we’re not privileged to see the connection but sometimes we’re lucky and we can see the puzzle being pieced together.

In criminal law, entrapment is when a law enforcement agent induces a person to commit an offense that the person would have otherwise been unlikely to commit.

The Sages are puzzled why G-d had to trick Pharaoh into thinking that the Israelites were trapped in the dessert. Pharaoh, who was very intelligent, was obviously afraid of pursuing the Jewish people unless he was assured in some way that the situation had changed and he had a fighting chance to succeed in catching and re-enslaving the Jews. Pharaoh actually became king again and led another nation after the Egypt fiasco……go figure. He had to have a great amount of charisma and cleverness to persuade another country to put him at the helm.
Despite all the miracles of the ten plaques that G-d performed for his chosen people at the expense of the Egyptians, Pharaoh was not entirely convinced of G-d’s power. G-d therefore made the Jewish people seem entangled in the desert. The plan of deception was to bring them to a spot between Migdol Eisam and the sea, where Pharaoh would be certain they had nowhere to flee. The desert cut them off. They could not travel there because of the wild animals. Before them stood the impassible sea. Migdal Eisam  was a high place from which it was easy to wage an attack. Thus the Children of Israel entered a strait with no exit.

The famous answer to this question is that G-d pays back measure for measure. Pharaoh and the Egyptians killed many Jewish children by throwing them in the river.  Therefore G-d punished the Egyptians by drowning them in the sea. As a matter of fact when the scripture writes ” VAYAMINU BAHASHEM UBEMOSHE AVDO-..and they believed in G-d and to Moshe his servant. Who are they “the believers” referring to?

Rav Henoch Leibowitz z’l teaches us it’s referring to the drowning Egyptians soldiers. At the last precious moments of life, when the the towering walls of water that was split on behalf of the Jews was breaking and tumbling down and becoming whole again, the Egyptians realized the truth. They comprehended the measure for measure and understood why they were about to die.
The Abarbanel, a famous Jewish commentary and at one point Finance Minister of Spain in the 15th century, presents a beautiful explanation of G-d’s enticement of the Egyptians into the sea. He says G-d intention was to frighten the other nations whose lands the Jewish people were going to conquer. He knew that the people leaving Egypt were at a low point, powerless to conquer large fortified cities.
The Jews coming out of Egypt had a slave mentality; they weren’t going to scare anybody. They weren’t warriors and the world knew that. G-d had to infuse a facelift of the Jewish image and it wasn’t going to be just the likes of the mild mannered Jewish accountant.

G-d struck the powerful Egyptians, the perennial superpower, a devastating blow which was publicized throughout the world. Hence, the splitting of the sea paved the way for the conquest of the land of Israel.

The beautiful song that we sing in our morning prayers, AZ YASHIR, which describes the wonders of the splitting of the sea by G-d’s mighty hand, hints at what transpired as a result of the devastation of the drowning of the Egyptians:
“Nations heard and shuttered: terror gripped those who dwell in Philistia. Edom’s chief then panicked; trembling gripped the powerful ones of Moav; all of Canaan’s residents melted away…..Until Your people crossed through, G-d.”

Similar are the words of Rachav, who was considered one of the four most beautiful woman that ever lived,. She was the most sort after prostitute ever. Rachav helped and protected the two Hebrew spies who were on a mission exploring the land that would eventually be their land; the land of Israel. She said (Yehoshua 2:9:10) ” I know that G-d gave you the land and that your fear took hold of us. All the residents of the land tremble before you , for we heard how G-d dried up the sea of Reeds before you when you were leaving Egypt”. Rachav eventually converted to Judism and astonishingly married the leader Yehoshua ben Nun. She rose to such an extent that she became a prophetess.

Rachav expressed the tone and heartbeat of the seven nations who occupied the land of Israel. This gave the Israelites a huge psycological edge in conquering the promised land in which G-d laid the groundwork by splitting the sea.
It seems like Pharaoh did not get the message from the plaques. The message that G-d runs the show had to come full circle by splitting the sea. With that action G-d was able to pay back measure for measure for the killing of the Jewish babies as well as set the tone for the future. We see how important the concept of the homeland is. G-d split the sea for an easy landing for our ancestors in the promised land.

There are many things in life that occur that one scratches his head. There are some incidences that are quite painful and difficult to make the adjustment. One has to realize every event that happens is connected and if we are lucky we can understand and figure out the puzzle.

When our forefather Avraham was about to leave this world, the scripture said AVRAHAM ZAKEN BAH BAH YAMIM-Avraham was old. The Sages interpret that he was blessed where he was able to understand and figure out the puzzle. He was able to figure out why events occurred in his life. Most of us will live our entire life and not know why things happened to us. We just have to realize that there is a master plan and everything is charted by G-d.

Appreciate this great country

This article was comprised using thoughts from Rabbi’s Akiva Grunblatt, Jay Shapiro,

Yossi Bilus, Baruch Dopelt, Isaac Oelbaum and Dr. Robert Goldman







We see a very interesting lesson in this week’s parsha in regards to HAKARAT HATOV, appreciating what one does for you.  The Torah demonstrates this concept to a large extent by showing Moshe’s sensitivities to inanimate objects:

1) Moshe does not strike the Nile river with his staff to bring on the first plague of blood, but designates his brother Aharon to do so. The basket with baby Moshe was placed in the Nile.  The waters helped conceal the newborn preventing the Egyptian monsters from killing him.

2) The pattern continues; Moshe does not hit the ground initiating the plague of Keenim-gnats (3rd) because the ground helped him conceal the Egyptian guard that he killed protecting a fellow Jew. Again, his brother Aharon hit the ground instead.

Why would I hit something that has done me good? This was Moshe rational. We deduce from Moshe’s actions, being  so caring toward inanimate objects, that one should be even more sensitive to people who have done something good for them.
Many years ago my family had some real estate which we rented out. One of our tenants was a new immigrant from Russia. I was very impressed with his awareness and appreciation of how the United States government initially helped him. Now he’s a homeowner himself; but the initial grateful response of how this country helped him and his family stand on their own two feet will always be embedded in my mind.

Even though the Mitzrim enslaved us, our ancestors, we can’t shun their offspring totally because they housed us during famine.  Even more so, for an amazing host like America that not only takes care of our physical needs but also enables our religious institutions, making it easier to practice and enhance our Torah education.


The constitution, with its Bill of Rights containing freedom of religion, speech and expression is enormous; it gives us the opportunity to grow as Jews in every sense of the word. In turn,  we have to appreciate these privileges by giving respect to its institutions like democracy, voting etc. It includes patriotism and even fighting and dying for it. It certainly includes keeping its laws.

However there are those that take advantage of the goodness of others and, believe it or not, steal from the same programs that are meant to provide help.

It says in last week’s parsha: A new king arose who did not know of Yosef. This is implying that Pharoah didn’t appreciate all that Yosef did for Egypt. Not only did he single-handedly save them from famine, Egypt became an epicenter for distribution of food. All this was initiated by a Jew, Joseph.

However,  hakarat hatov – appreciating what one does for you – a very important human trait which one most definitely should possess was not found in Pharoah. This flaw led to the demise of Egypt. As punishment they were never acknowledged as a super power again.

If one remembers we had mentioned an incredible story that happened in our Jewish history. Yeosh was hidden as a toddler after the wicked queen killed off the entire house of David. We know from basic Jewish knowledge that the monarch has to come from David ben Ishai’s offspring’s. When the time was right, Yehoyada, the high priest, organized a coup and killed the queen. He then put the seven year old Yeosh in power. Under the guidance and nurturing  of Yehoyada,  Yeosh blossomed as king. He actually became a very good one. However after the death of Yehoyada, Yeosh began to be influenced in a bad way. What started as a very heartwarming story turned sour and ended up being a case of one of the greatest fundamental lack of human character ever. Yeosh, paranoid that he would lose power, killed off the then high priest, who happened to be the son of Yehoyada!!  Where is the hakarat hatov- appreciation of what one does for you!! You kill from the hand that has fed you, taught you, nourished you; kept you alive. Where is the gratitude?!

Our patient G-d draws measure for measure. At times one is able to see this.  After some time Yeosh was assassinated by people from Amon and Moav.

What is the significance of Amon and Moav? The Torah says if an individual comes from Amon and Moav, and wants to convert, we are forbidden to take him in. The reason for this is when the Jews were in the dessert Amon and Moav did not allow them to pass through or even give them any food.  A tremendous flaw in common decency considering  our ancestor and forefather Avraham raised, housed, protected and even put his life on the line for their ancestor Lot. Where is the appreciation?

We don’t want that kind of character flaw in our congregation. We have to be very grateful we’re living in these circumstances in this great big country called USA. One inevitably has to ask a question: If we have it so good, freedom this and freedom that, then why is this beautiful time called the GALUT-diaspora?

Hey man, this is it!  REDEMPTION!!

In these parshiot of the slavery and the redemption out of Egypt, we learn a very significant lesson on how we should conduct ourselves. As the pasuk says, METZUYANIM SHAM – they stood out there. They were purposely different. This is by design. The bracha living in such a country is the fact that the non-Jews let us be who we are and this is who we are suppose to be. They give us that KAVOD and we in turn show the greatest of appreciation. However the bracha is not to act like non-Jews. That was not the initiative of G-d.

Being a Jew first doesn’t mean not having utmost respect for USA. The difference is Judaism is a life identification. It’s stronger.  When the prophet Yonah was asked who are you? Where do you come from? What do you do?  He had one answer.  IVRI anochi-I, am a Jew. That’s my essence, nothing else.
There is a little story that’s a teaser and has been circulated in every diaspora in our history. A man comes home from shul and informs his wife. “Pack our bags the Mashiach is coming, we’re going to the promised land”. She retorts “What are we going to do with the farm”. He answers back ” We are Jews, so we have to go through another TZARA-ordeal.”
If we look at that opportunity as an ordeal then we are too comfortable where we are.


Trust me it’s quite difficult to forgo a lifestyle and a culture and to move. A friend moved to Israel many years ago; it took him 9 years to get used to Israel after being born and bred in New York. There was a snowy blanket covering Jerusalem recently. I saw a picture via Facebook of my friend playing and building a snowman in the streets of the holy city. He’s 51 years old !! It reminds me, and I’m sure him, of us playing as kids in the streets of Queens. I’m sure he remembers how it was at night in Queens with the reflection of the snow and the addition of the decorative, sharp, bright color lights of the non-Jewish holiday, as well as the Chanukah menorah illuminating the sky. This was an unforgettable  moment of our cultural past.

            Snowman at the Kotel
After spending an entire summer in Tel Aviv when I was 8 years old, I got so homesick for pizza that no one, not my grandparents or cousins could console me. One of my relatives even went clear across town on his little moped (remember them) to find this foreign food. No one ever heard of pizza then. Boy has time changed.

The first thing which reminds me of spring is matzah and cream cheese and the cracking sound of a baseball bat hitting a ball and the smell of a leather baseball glove. It’s hard not to get sucked into the emotional aspect of a culture.

Perhaps one can put things in perspective with a very significant symbolic occurrence in last week’s parsha pertaining to the burning bush. If one reads the pasuk carefully one realizes the bush was not in the midst of the fire. (Shemot 3:2) The fire appeared within the bush. Moshe saw the fire within the bush. We also see in the last parsha of the Torah, VEZOT HABRACHA, where Yosef’s blessing is referring to this very incident of Moshe’s first encounter with G-d and the bush.
There is a incredible explanation from Rabbi Oelbaum pertaining to the burning bush phenomena which can be understood better with a famous story. The Romans were afraid to enter the  Kodesh HaKokoshim – the holy of holies – after conquering our holy Temple. So they said  “Whoever will volunteer to enter can take whatever he wants for himself.” The rebellious Jew Yosef Mishteh said defiantly “I will”. He proceeded to take out the beautiful golden menorah only to be taken away by the Romans. “This is to beautiful for a Jewish commoner. This should be given to the Emperor instead. We’ll let you go in again and take out whatever you want. However this time he refused. I will not desecrate my G-d a second time ” he said. Even after they threatened death he still refused. They executed him. The question the Sages asked what transpired within the period of time between the first time he went in and the second? Why the sudden change of heart? Why did he now care about his creator when before he didn’t?

The burning bush, which is the first thing G-d introduced to Moshe, represents that each Jew has a fire within him that is waiting to come out. Yosef was blessed for the fact that he maintained that fire throughout his lonely diaspora. Fire begets fire; when Yosef Mishteh walked into the Kodesh hakadoshim he was enamored by the majestic holiness of the place. That brought out the fire within him. It’s a fire we all have and protects us from the emotional aspect that connects us to the seductive diaspora.

We have to put things in perspective. It’s our duty as Jews and Halacha from the Torah to abide by the laws of the land, and most important, appreciate the United States of America; appreciate what circumstance G-d has put us in, that we can practice our religion; we should take advantage of our freedom. We should be who we are and what we are supposed to be.

The Enforcers

This article was constructed with the help of Rabbi’s Baruch Dopelt, Akiva Grunblatt, Jay Shapiro, Yitzchak Aminov and Dr. Robert Goldman. 

A United States Marine was taking some college courses between assignments. He had recently completed missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One of the courses was taught by a professor who was an avowed atheist and a member of the ACLU. One day the professor shocked the class when he came in:  he looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, “God, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform. I’ll give you exactly 15 minutes.”
The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop.
Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, “Here I am God. I’m still waiting.”
It got down to the last couple of minutes when the Marine got out of his chair, went up to the professor, and cold-cocked him, knocking him off the platform. The professor was out cold.
The Marine went back to his seat and sat there silently. The other students were shocked, stunned, and sat there looking on in silence.
The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, “What is the matter with you? Why did you do that?”
The Marine calmly replied, “God was too busy today protecting American soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid stuff and act like an idiot. So, He sent me”.


This is a case of an enforcer protecting the monotheistic ideal.. Its important that we have in every society law enforcement to protect the rights of the people. Its a must, or else society would not be able to function.  Where would we be without the excessive implementation of traffic tickets and the scant mini-meters. Thank you Mayor Bloomberg.


“I never heard of this G-d of the Israelites” Pharaoh proclaimed when his two guest came with a stern message. Pharaoh then said ” I’ll show them who’s boss” after Moshe and his brother Aharon approached him demanding to send the Israelites free. He then  made it harder for the  enslaved Jewish people by not giving them straw to complete their work. Now  the Israelites would have to spread out through the entire land of Egypt  to gather straw. However, the catch was, he said, the  production amount will not be reduced. This placed a tremendous amount of pressure on the Jewish foremen who scrambled to keep production at the same level.
 Unfortunately, there are times in history where we see ones own brethren are threatened into  enforcing certain laws against their own people by an imposing nation for their own agenda. Such is the case in this weeks parsha where Pharaoh, the Egyptian king, created a Jewish police force to implement his plan. If the Jewish slaves fell short of fulfilling their quotas, the Egyptians beat the Jewish foremen. However, the foremen sacrificed themselves to protect their fellow Jews. They absorbed the beatings and refused to retaliate against the overworked Jews. The Jewish foremen/police had mercy on their fellow comrades. (Rashi 5,14)
 Pharaoh decided the best cure for Moshe’s incitement was to make the Israelites work so hard that they would not have any energy to think of rebellion.
As Rashi notes, it was a courageous act on behalf of the Jewish foremen who defended their brethren. These foremen later were rewarded by being appointed ” the seventy elders of Israel”; they judged the people. This was a tremendous honor!!
pride and joy-celebrating finishing the seven year cycle of the Talmud at Met life where over 90,000 participated
The question is asked; we Jews pride ourselves on being an intelligent people. Our Talmud is an incredibly difficult & complex body of work and some of our greatest scholars (among many others)  study it on a daily basis. They even take time off from their busy schedule and form study groups. They find it extremely gratifying and stimulating. As far as intelligence is concerned, its the best in the business.  So if we are the scholarly front runners doesn’t one think the job description for the “Elders of Israel”, judges amongst our people should be more qualified then just ones who showed mercy? Granted it was a very noble gesture and one that deserves great reward. However, “elders” is defined as scholar.  There is no mention in the scriptures and in the Midrash about their intelligence. It seems like they were simple  foremen in Egypt. They were righteous but not “judge” material.
  As a matter of fact G-d didn’t pull the trigger on  expressing his desire for Moshe to be leader until the burning bush incident. The icing on the cake was seeing  Moshe exhibiting curiosity when seeing the burning bush. It showed an interest in knowing; it showed a desire to analyze a situation. So we see there is a degree of intelligence needed for a leadership position.
 We see a fascinating act by G-d. He rewarded the seventy foremen with added intelligence and  uplifted them to one of the highest positions among the nation. They stood by and protected the nation at their lowest point in Egypt and now they will be on top of the totem pole when the nation is  in its glory days. We see the importance of caring for ones fellow; we see an importance in showing mercy for mankind.
 Similarly, on a higher level, we find our forefather Avraham, who housed and entertained  guests constantly.He and his wife Sarah are famous for their acts of kindness toward people. One can ask, when did he have time to intellectually get close to G-d?  We know at a young age, impressively,  he deduced from nature that there is a one G-d . We also know his great grandfather, Shem, had what we call today a Yeshiva. The Sages say Avraham always had the burning desire to connect to G-d. However, there was no time on the schedule for the long weekend retreat. Although we see that Avraham was a highly intelligent he too was granted a gift,  a high level of spirituality. For his kindness towards people and branding ” helping your fellow man” ,G-d came to him personally.
  One can put the enforcer concept in perspective with this story of the Chazzon Ish, one of our contemporary leaders. It was the afternoon before Yom Kippur and someone approached the Chazzon Ish and asked him a question about his parnasa-livelyhood. The Chazzon Ish spent a considerable time with the person.  After a while the fellow asked the Rav ” Rebbi, don’t you need time to prepare for Yom Kippur? Why are you dedicating so much time on my behalf?” . He answered ” I am preparing for Yom Kippur by helping you with your livelihood”.
 Another story involves Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, one of the leading authorities on contemporary halacha of his time in the United States. A few weeks after he passed away one of the Rav’s secretaries  discovered an elderly woman who would call the Rav every Friday afternoon and asked him ” what time does Shabbat starts this week?” Here is a Torah giant who answers thousands of complicated halachic questions weekly yet finds time for this elderly lady to give her the Shabbat start time. The reason is the leaders job is to give to the people: it is to help them in any which way possible. If Rav Moshe satisfies this elderly woman by telling her the times, he has done his job. The leaders  have to be there for the AM-the nation.
Rabbi Dopelt tells a story of the Spliner Rav who would listen to one’s problems and cry and feel with him his pain. A few hours later he is rejoicing  at a wedding making the bride and groom happy to the highest degree. This is the degree of giving that one has to have for a fellow Jew.
 The Elders-enforcers were granted a gift; it was a miracle. One cannot expect to receive a high level of intelligence just from acts of kindness. However, we see  the importance of good character traits in G-d’s eyes. The good character traits are not wasted. G-d finds a place for the person performing good deeds whether the reward goes to him or his children.
 The Elders job is to prevent the nation from excessive hardship. We learn in the Torah if one does a certain sin he is punished with forty lashes. However, the Chachamim-Elders deduce from scripture that a Jew only receives thirty nine. The duty of the Sages is to alleviate  as much difficulty to our brethren as possible. If we can find a way to reduce one smack we have to discover it.
 The halacha-law  goes according to Hillel and not Shamai ,who was the stricter of the two. Although both were Torah greats in every sense of the word, Hillel possessed a bit  more humility and therefore all laws go according to him.
Good character traits alone doesn’t make the complete man. One has to combine it with the Torah. Its with the wisdom of the Torah that one see’s what is in the world and is then able to do act of kindness to the utmost.
 The  Chazzon Ish would map out a diagram and give it to the surgeon and tell him where the problem lies; the same goes with the Lubavitcher Rebbi. How would they know? They never attended medical school.
Kindness has away of coming back to you.
 Devorah was a prophetess and leader of the Jewish people. She became a leader  through an act of kindness. Every year she would contribute through her husband by making special wicks for the Menorah. Devorah realized the light of Torah has to be beautiful and it should be presented in the most honorable way. Her special devotion was recognized by G-d. She became leader of the Jews and lit the light not just of the menorah but also the entire Jewish people
There’s an old expression , ” They don’t care how much you know until they find out how much you care”.


Our freedom is very important

This article was constructed with the help of either writings, lectures or shiurim of Rabbi’s  Noach Isaac Oelbaum, Baruch Dopelt, Yossi Bilus,Yissachar Frand, Yaakov Menken  Dr. Abba Goldman.

Freedom is beloved!! Freedom is exhilarating!! Freedom is reassuring!!  Freedom is what this great big country is based on. Freedom is the Democratic philosophy in which Israel is so strategically beloved in Middle East region by the United States. That’s the conman thread between Israel and countries practicing democracy. 
In today’s world, we are rightfully very preoccupied with obtaining our rights and freedoms. We want to be free to pursue our priorities, live according to our convictions, and pursue what makes us happy. We don’t want anyone limiting us or imposing on us his concept of how we should live. These are our entitlements as human beings, and no one should have the right to take them from us. We have rights. This is the first thing we learn in grade school.
 Unfortunately when our rights as humans are violated it can change how these victims perceive the world and act toward each other. We learn a very important lesson from this week’s parsha. When Moshe wanted to plant the seeds of freedom, the Israelites did not even pay attention to Moshe’s second speech of “I’m taking you out” because of “KOTZER RUACH’ – shortness of spirit. Dr. Abba Goldman – Psychologist at Yeshiva Chaffetz Chaim explains their reaction is the result of the effects of slavery. Pharaoh carefully designed a full proof system to reassure them to always be subordinate. Always be afraid and never answer back.  He implanted the roots of a slave mentality. “What is the “slave mentality”?
One aspect of “slave mentality” is to be afraid of the people on top.
“Does the government fear us? Or do we fear the government? When the people fear the government, tyranny(Arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority)
 has found victory. The federal government is our servant, not our master!”
Fearing authority is the direct result of being persecuted by governments. Egypt was the prototype of such authority. Today, any migration from an oppressed government proves those people being fearful of authority as opposed to people who grew up in democracy where people are not afraid to voice their opinion.
 Furthermore, ever wonder why the Jews complained that they had it so good  in Egypt. They were persecuted and harassed and often, annoyingly, they would praise their way of life in that oppressed country. 
   Slaves are provided with rations so that they can work. The Egyptians made sure that they had food. What do the Israelites remember? They remember only that they were cared for there and provided for. The fact that they were getting slave rations is for some reason overlooked. But when they find themselves hungry with no means of provision, they are immediately lost. Like a child without his mother, they simply cry. A simple need unfulfilled is a crisis for the slave.
It would seem that the mind of the slave is limited to these narrow horizons of immediate material fulfillment. The slave lives for the moment. He does not have the luxury of planning the future; his role is simply to survive the present. The hallmarks of the slave generation which is leaving Egypt can be felt throughout the next few parshiot. G-d does not lead the Israelites “by way of the Land of the Pelishtim although it was nearer, for G-d said, ‘If they encounter war, the people may have a change of heart and return to Egypt'” (13:17-18). The people still see Egypt as a protective secure environment. They need the security; they need its order and comforting predictability. Egypt is an environment where decisions are made for them, where they know the rules of life. In the outside world, they are lacking in confidence.
They are slaves in other senses too. The Ibn Ezra (14:13) asks: why did the Israelites not fight the Egyptians when they were attacked at the Red Sea? After all, the Israelites numbered six hundred thousand fighting men, a considerable force. He answers:
“The Egyptians were masters to the Israelites. Exodus generation was accustomed from the youngest age to suffer under the yoke of Egyptian oppression. Their spirit was broken. How could they stand up and fight their masters… after all they were inexperienced in the art of war…”
The result of this slave mentality will be certain instability within the national mood of the people. They are fickle. One moment they can be uplifted by the soaring euphoria of the miracle at the Red Sea and the next minute, all has been forgotten; they might as well be back in Egypt. 
When crisis hits, the people panic and all the theological truths disappear as if into thin air.
 Why did G-d decide that the Israelites face the Egyptians head on?
   G-d’s intention was not to save Israel from war and undue fear but precisely the opposite: To drag them into an immediate confrontation with their former masters, and to achieve final, total independence at the Red Sea. The Jews had already been physically liberated from Egypt; now the time had come to free them spiritually and emotionally.
This liberation would come through witnessing the final downfall of the power that had until now made an almost lasting mark upon their souls as the nation before whom all nations trembled. Two hundred and ten years of slavery to a nation so dominant that until now no slave had ever escaped had to leave its mark. Even if the Jews were permitted to leave, they would do so with a great regard for Egypt’s power. They would look up to the Egyptians, not perhaps for their “kind treatment” of their slaves, but for their world-dominance as a military power.
BOOM, SPLASH!! Egypt has been defeated. Dead soldiers floating in the sea…
  Now, since the Jews have witnessed G-d’s hand and the Egyptian demise, what’s now? It’s their task, their mission to revolutionize their way of thinking. How do they undo their “slave mentality’?  It’s a tremendous undertaking to change one’s Philosophy of life. This is their test, both as a nation and on a personal level. However, it’s an enormous and difficult task. 
  Regardless of the psychological difficult road of changing one’s way of thinking, they are free!! They have tasted the sweetness of not having a master…… But wait!! 
BUT WAIT!!  ARE WE FREE?!!!  In parshat [Vayera 7:26] 

“And G-d said to Moshe, ‘go to Pharoah, and say to him, “thus says G-d ‘LET MY PEOPLE GO…….and they will serve Me.”     
What are we free to do? To serve G-d!   That’s freedom?
  The commandments of the Torah, with 613 mandatory and prohibited acts, with countless restrictions and sub-restrictions upon behavior, consumption of foods, sexual activity — “you name it, Judaism wants to control it” — is repressive, restrictive, limiting. And this is the vision of Judaism which many of us have.
The Torah itself is uncompromising. Pesach is called “the time of our liberation,” not “the time of exchanging one master for Another”.
When the Jews stood at Mount Sinai and Moshe came down with the tablets containing the Ten Commandments. The verse is described in an interesting way “And the tablets were made by G-d, and the writing was G-d’s writing, engraved (Heb. Chorut) on the tablets.” (Exodus 32:16). Our sages (Chapters of the fathers 6:2) comment on this “do not read ‘chorut’ ‘engraved,’ but rather ‘chairut,’ ‘freedom,’ for no one else is free but he who occupies himself in Torah learning.” The words ‘Chorut’ and ‘Chairut’ are spelled the same way with different vocalization. 
Rabbi Yehoshuah ben Levi says in the Chapters of the Fathers 62, “there is no free man like the one who is involved with the study of Torah.”
In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote that we have rights, such as the famous “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
If Liberty is supposed to make it possible for us to be happy, than the Torah’s “freedom” seems to serve the purpose very well. Those who visit an active observant Jewish community do not find a restricted, shackled people, but one where sharing, generosity, and happiness are the order of the day. There was actually a Los Angeles Times survey that discovered that residents of religious communities were significantly more likely to describe themselves as “happy.”  How can this be? What is the vision of “freedom” that the Torah gives us?
In the Chapters of the Fathers 428, Rabbi Elazar HaKappar says “jealousy, lust and honor remove a person from the world.” What does this mean? One explanation is that these things color a person’s vision. Instead of dealing with the “real world,” he or she instead sees the world from a distorted perspective. And, of course, this unrealistic perspective limits the person, preventing him or her from doing things which otherwise would be entirely possible and appropriate. The victim is shackled, regardless of his or her self-perception. He’s a slave to society.
In other words, it is very easy to be a slave to our desires, and emotions. How many people in the free world are drowning in debt because they are literally slaves to their desires for material things? How many people are slaves to anger and other emotions, which cause them to act in destructive and regrettable ways? How many people have a gambling, sexual or any addiction? At the end of the day that person, briefly, wakes up and cries “Oh! What did I do?! Another day wasted. It is even possible to be a slave to an ideal that leads a person to ruination. 
Rabbi Oelbaum says that the fundamental importance of the Torah is to enable us to overcome and do the opposite of our nature, to break the one aspect of our personality that we have a tough time overcoming. This is the primary goal of life.
Perhaps this is what G-d intended when approaching the nations and asking, are you ready to accept for real, and therefore you would have to eradicate stealing or murder or whatever weakness one has.
Rav Eliyahu Lopian teaches an important awareness of freedom of choice. This is an important aspect of man. However, one should know the definition of freedom of choice is not that one can do whatever he wants. If that was so, what is man’s superiority over animals? They too can do whatever they want. The definition of freedom of choice is that he’s able to choose himself and go against his nature, against his natural instincts and animals cannot do this.
The Torah, if studied correctly enables us to be free “Cherut”. It enables us to break away from slavery of the natural animal instinct. The Torah prepares us for proper freedom, the way man, not animal, is supposed to be free.