Hallel: Rosh Chodesh Sivan: An Introduction to Paragraph Four
“You have seen what I did to Egypt, and that I have borne you on the wings of eagles and brought you to Me.” “You have seen,” personally, not as a tradition or a story, not because I am informing you, not because there were other participants in the story who are telling the story to you, but something you saw with your own eyes (Rashi 19:4). The Covenant of Torah must always have a sense of immediacy. It will always relate to what you see in the world around you. It will never be something separate from life; it will always be part and parcel of every aspect of your life.
“What I did to Egypt.” How I punished Egypt only because of the way they treated you (Rashi). It is not that we witnessed the punishment of Egypt, but that we witnessed the punishment of Egypt because of how they treated us. God was willing to ignore the sins of the Egyptians against Him. He would not forgive the sins of the Egyptians against Israel. “My relationship with you, the Children of Israel, will determine how I relate to the world!” The story of the world will now be the story of God’s love for Israel. This is the essence of the Covenant of Torah, the “Blueprint of Creation,” with Israel: it is the Torah that informs and shapes our role in creation. It is the description of how we are in empowered to become active participants in creation. Everything we do matters. Everything we say matters.
“That I have borne you on the wings of eagles.” The Children of Israel were spread out all over a large area. How were they able to gather to leave Egypt? Once they experienced the intimacy of the Pesach Offering, miracles began happening to them, not just around them. They began to live on an entirely new level. This too is an essential part of the is an essential part of the Covenant of Torah: Once we experience its intimacy, we will experience miraculous lives.
“And brought you to Me.” I brought you close to My service (Targum). We do not simply step into the Service of God; we must experience God bringing us to His service through His Torah.
The story of Israel is the story of the world, Torah informing and shaping our role in creation, the sense that everything we do and say matters, the experience of living miraculously, and the experience of God bringing us close to His service, are the ideas of the fourth paragraph of this Hallel.