Israel Forever

For the week ending 4 February 2012 / 10 Shevat 5772

How Many Wanted to Go?

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

We live in an era of surveys and polls. Almost every day people are being asked who their candidate for leadership is and which products they like, and are submitted to earthshaking explorations of their minds.

Imagine if our ancestors in Egypt were polled on whether they wish to follow Moshe out of that country or to remain there. The surprising result of such a poll, according to what our Sages comment on a passage in this week's Torah portion, would have been 80% in favor of remaining in Egypt! This lack of faith in G-d's promise to free them, give them the Torah and a land of their own, was punished by the death of the doubters during the plague of darkness which was inflicted upon the Egyptians.

Did you ever wonder what would be the result of a poll taken today among Jews in Israel and throughout the world if they were asked what they would say if they had a choice to have the Torah and a land of their own or to just be a nation like all others?

Remember that those Jews who refused to leave Egypt had already been freed from the rigors of bondage once the plagues began, and their decision to stay in Egypt as free men was probably based on a desire to avoid the responsibility that would come with Torah. It is to be hoped that reflection of their tragic fate will inspire Jews to vote for a Torah way of life in their holy land of Israel forever.

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