Weapons of Faith
With their matzahs in one hand and weapons to defend themselves in the other, the newly-freed slaves were led out of Egypt. Their destination, of course, was the Promised Land, the Land of Israel. But
We see here that the people possessed no trace of the power and courage with which they could have attained their own freedom, and not even enough courage to retain that freedom. Both the attainment and retainment was through the work of
Aside from lacking courage in their hearts, they were lacking something even more fundamental. They still lacked trust in
The Land they were being led to does not, by its nature, provide material prosperity and political independence. Quite the contrary — it is unpredictable in its yield and vulnerable to invaders. And, in furtherance of the nation’s mission, precisely for this reason it was chosen.
Peace and prosperity in this Land will be granted or withheld directly by Hashem. It is situated at the crossroads where Europe, Asia and Africa meet, ensuring it will be caught in the crosshairs of conflict and war between other nations. Only by devotion to
However, the Jewish People were not yet ready for this way of life. Only extraordinary experiences would educate them to the awareness that
This was the meaning of the detour through the desert. Within their first few days they were to experience the miraculous salvation of the sea splitting and then drowning their Egyptian pursuers, and learn of
By the time their detour is complete, the people will be armed with a different sort of weapon — allegiance to and trust in the Almighty.
- Sources: Commentary, Shemot 13:17-8, 16:20; Bereishet 14:1