Pesach The Burning Bush: A Message for Today

Nov 17, 2014

Rabbi Yitzchak Hirshfeld

The Navi (Micah 7:15) tells us, “As in the days when you left Egypt I will show you wonders,” the process of the final redemption will parallel the departure from Egypt. Let us look at one point in the narrative of the exodus.

The story of our departure from Egypt has its beginnings in the vision of the burning bush. The bush was burning yet it was not consumed. What did this vision teach them? And what can we learn and apply to our contemporary situation?

It has been suggested that the bush is the nation of Israel, and the fire is the enmity of their oppressors. The fire is ranging all around. Natural law would dictate that in a short time there would be nothing left of the bush. Yet it si not consumed; the laws of history do not determine the fate of the Jewish people. There is a unique hashgacha (Divine Providence) which directly protects the Jewish people, even as the fires of hate and destruction surround them.

When Moshe saw this, took notice, (and evidently he could have failed to notice) then G-d revealed Himself and spoke. Evidently, noticing G-d I His hiddenness must precede hearing Him in His revelation. And the awareness that even as the fires rage without, G-d protects within, is a prerequisite for the ultimate extinction of those fires.

Today we have to reinforce the lesson of the burning bush. There is a destructive fire all about us, and we are not consumed. This delivers a twofold message. First, we must exult in the knowledge that truly G-d protects us, loves us; that the security of our existence far transcends the natural order. And secondly, by seeing things as they are, we must be shaken from our complacency. How fragile and vulnerable we are!

We are called upon to follow Moshe Rabbeinu – we must first of all notice this basic fact of our existence, that as a people and as individuals we are a burning bush. That is the first step towards meriting to see G-d’s hashgacha revealed and to experience G-d’s salvation from the enemies who surround us.

“As in the days when you left Egypt I will show you wonders.”

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