our bread and butter

I was thinking about the passuk I quoted a couple of weeks ago. זכרתי לך חסד נעוריך - HaShem remembers the kindness of our youth.. which was? לכתך אחרי במדבר בארץ לא זרוע - You followed me into the desert, a land that was unplanted. Who wouldn't follow HaShem anywhere, surrounded by the Clouds of Glory, lead by a pillar of cloud and fire day and night?

There's a subtle message here. In the bit about the land being unplanted. We just left Mitzrayim, the land of agriculture, the land not dependent on rain, the land of high technology in the form of leavened bread. Planting was part of the fundamental culture of Egypt. If you didn't plant, grow, and harvest food, you would starve. Their faith was placed squarely on food. Food is what gives us life. If we think back, how did Egypt become the center of the world? They were where the food was at, even when the rest of the world was starving. Egypt meant the constancy of food, the currency of life in those days.

[When we left egypt we didn't have time for our bread to rise, which meant basically we gave up that technology. (Back then you incorporated dough from a previous batch of bread as a starter to get your dough to rise properly. They didn't have yeast or baking soda back then. (To the best of my knowledge) It takes a long time to start fresh and build up until you have dough that rises well --- think of the modern day equivalent, shutting down a nuclear reactor, it can be started again, but it takes a long long time and it's a huge pain. Another similar situation would be shutting down an MRI magnet--which takes days to power up again--at the pace of our society this is like the weeks or months it would take to get a good dough starter going.)]

When we left Egypt to follow HaShem we were declaring a break with everyone else in the world, with the common sense of the world at large. We were leaving behind the safety of the cultivated fields, the safety of the Nile and going to a place where without divine intervention survival was unthinkable. It was a tremendous act of faith on our part and a tremendous kiddush HaShem in the world at large.

That's the חסד נעוריך that HaShem still remembers. We left behind everything that we knew, everyhting that we trusted, just as Avraham Avinu did in parashath לך לך. We showed that we still had the emunah of Avraham to go a different way than the way of the world.


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