Rabbi Alexander Tsykin
Now, this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. -- Winston Churchill
This week we finally read about how Pharoah sends the Jews away from Egypt. Fillay, freedom! Of course, that is not true. There is still a long way to go. Pharoah will change his mind one more time before they leave Egypt. And then there is the long hard slog to the Land of Israel. However, the freedom that the people of Israel crave is finally in sight.
However, that freedom did not come because of any statement of Pharoah's. Before Pharoah decided to let the Jews go, they had to make their own decision. The Jews took the lamb of the Paschal offering and sacrificed it to G-d. It is hard for us to imagine what this would have felt like. An oppressed people, alone and with no one helping them, took the god of those who had enslaved them and slaughtered it on an altar. How did they muster the courage to do such a thing?
The Jewish people in Egypt made a choice, a fateful one. They chose to take control of their lives and not just do as they were told. They chose to be free. That is the true point at which they stopped being slaves. That is the beginning of the people of Israel leaving Egypt.
As we read about how the Jews went free, we can all take inspiration from their courage and their conviction. The choice they made, to take control of their lives, echoes down the centuries as a clarion call for us to continue in the same way.