fond memories

In the desert, we complained about the סיר הבשר - the pot of meat we had in Egypt. Of course life wasn't as good as we claimed, one of the explanations of this verse says that we didn't get to eat meat, we were slaves, but just being downwind from the cooking of the Egyptians was something we remembered fondly.

On a deeper level we weren't complaining about a pot of meat, but about the experience of being within the womb of Egypt. Surrounded by the heat of our mother's flesh. According to a metaphorical approach, we were a fetus developing within the womb of Egypt. When we were fully developed, we were born out of Egypt, passing through the breaking of the water, and into the world, one whole nation, screaming/singing praises to HaShem. (Shirat HaYam/Az Yashir) This level of metaphor even explains the death of the Egyptian people at the time, the now unnecessary placenta.

Imagine a baby's first few months in the world, some pediatricians explain the first three months of a baby's life as a fourth trimester of pregnancy, the only difference now is that the baby is on the outside. Surely the baby remembers the warmth and comfort of the womb, all its needs met with no effort to suck or swallow, no freezing air with each labored breath, no struggle to evacuate its own waste.

Think about it, one day again soon (may it be very soon) we will cry about the סיר הבשר, the fond memory of the womb of this world. Sure we can look back on the pre-infant that was Israel in Egypt and point out: what's all the commotion about, it wasn't comfortable at all? Yeah we got food but we had to break our backs for it. Sure we lived and grew and multiplied, but they tried to destroy us! We can certainly say the same things about this world, it's not easy, its no comfort, but nonetheless this world is a womb where all our needs are met, preparing us for birth into something bigger, more real, the next step in our development. At the same time it will be disorienting, just as this world is for a newborn, just as the desert was for the fledgling nation which begot us.


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