Exile and Redemption
"The Book of Exile and Redemption" is the name given to Chumash Shemot which we will begin reading this Shabbat.
The exile to which this title refers is the descent of the Patriarch Yaakov and his family from Eretz Yisrael to Egypt. This was, in a sense, a preview of the four exiles which Jews would experience throughout history. The spiritual strength which they developed in maintaining a unique identity despite the influence of a corrupt Egyptian culture became the force which enabled future generations to remain faithful to G-d and His Torah despite persecution.
The redemption mentioned in this title came in three stages – freedom from bondage, receiving of the Torah and the building of the Sanctuary – all of which are recorded in Chumash Shemot. In our own day we must remember that the freedom from bondage which we enjoy, both in our own land and in Jewish communities throughout the world, is not yet our longed-for redemption. A widespread commitment to Torah values will hopefully make us worthy of the final stage of redemption – the building of the Beit Hamikdash and the fulfillment of the prophecies about the security and prosperity of Israel forever.