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VAERA-REDEMPTION AND SALVATION

REDEMPTION AND SALVATION

Four concepts are used to describe redemption: “And I will take you out; And I will rescue you; And I will redeem you; And I will take you.” [Shemot, Exodus 6:6]. Some also add a fifth concept, from the next verse: “And I will bring you …”.

However, salvation [yeshua] is not mentioned at all, in spite of the fact that in general it appears quite often in the Tanach.

For example:

“Stand aside and see the salvation of G-d” [Shemot 14:13];

“He is the tower of salvation for his king'” [Shmuel II 22:51];

“Behold, G-d is my salvation, I will feel secure and not be afraid”[Yeshayahu 12:2];

“I wait for your salvation, O Lord” [Bereishit 49:18].

One would have expected to find the same word used in this case, at the beginning of this week’s [VAERA] Torah portion. However, there is a difference between the concepts of “redemption” and “salvation.” While redemption stems directly from the Almighty, salvation is deliverance through a messenger, one who has been given the power to rescue another at the time of need. Redemption occurred only one time in history, during the Exodus from Egypt, and in that case it was not performed by an angel or a messenger but by the Almighty Himself (see the Passover Haggadah). In order to avoid misunderstanding, Moshe’s name is not mentioned at all in the Haggada. This word, redemption [geula], has been set aside for a single unique event in the future: the redemption in the days to come. Salvation is different. There have been many cases of salvation in history. It was only about a month ago that we praised G-d and thanked Him for the miracles and our salvation when the Hashmonaim revolted against the Greeks. In that case we also used many different phrases, such as salvation, miracles, and wonders, but we did not call it “redemption.” This is because at the time we were saved through the actions of the messengers of  G-d, the Hashmonaim. This reasoning leads us to another difference between redemption and salvation.  As mentioned above, Moshe’s name does not appear in the Haggada, yet in contrast, the family of the Hashmonaim is repeatedly cited during Chanuka, both in “Al HaNissim” (“the miracles which you performed  for our fathers, through your holy priests”) and in “Haneirot Hallalu“. We first and foremost thank the Almighty, but we do not forget to also thank the messengers who performed the actions.

“Salvation belongs to G-d, let your blessing fall on your nation” [Tehillim 3:9].

While it is the Almighty who provides salvation, the people whose actions bring it about are also blessed. There are many wonderful events occurring around us that cannot be explained. We may often recite the verse, “This was from G-d, it is wonderful in our eyes” [Tehillim 118:23], but we, too often, forget the many messengers of G-d who should also be acknowledged. Anybody who ignores good deeds done for him by someone else will eventually deny the good of G-d. One who does not take care to acknowledge a colleague, acting as a messenger of G-d, will eventually refuse to recognize the Master who sent him. Acknowledgement of the good of both Man and G-d stem from the same source, and one who is remiss in recognizing the good of man may also deny the good done for him/her by the Almighty.

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