“You hath the L-RD taken and brought forth out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be unto Him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day.” – Deuteronomy 4:20, JPS
The refiner’s fire, where Joseph was tested (Psalm 105), before being elevated to the status of viceroy of Egypt, melted his ego, pride, and vanity, and brought him forth mature enough to be responsible for a country. His brethren were also brought down to Egypt, and after being refined, “brought forth out of the furnace (see above).
Everyone is tested in alignment with his or her character, namely, to bring out the good, while separating what shines from the dross. This is life, as intended by the guiding hand of H’Shem unto each individual and their needs, for the sake of refining their character. Eventually, the soul gleams, after passing the tests given.
“And Moses said unto the people: ‘Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the L-RD brought you out from this place; there shall no leavened bread be eaten.” – Exodus 13:3, JPS
The question remains, to what extent were the character traits of B’nei Yisrael refined in Egypt, when they were slaves, if the next 49 days after obtaining their freedom constituted the refining of character that we still seek for ourselves, during the days of counting the omer?
Perhaps, the Israelites needed to be subjected to the rigours of servitude, to understand the difference between serving Pharaoh as a result of being forcibly compelled to do so, and serving H’Shem out of their own free will.
The same can be said of the world, in regard to its hold on those who remain in bondage to it through gashmiyos (materialism). Yet, Torah frees us from bondage to the world. By choosing to serve H’Shem, we are able to transcend the world through ruchniyos (spirituality).
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