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We survived Pharaoh, but now what?

בני ישראל עובדים במצרים
ציור: יואל וקסברגר, מלכות וקסברגר

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

There is one line written by singer Meir Ariel that people quote when they are faced with a challenging difficulty: "We survived Pharaoh, we will survive this too." This is a comforting thought that testifies to a positive attitude: We have lived through greater challenges than this and we can draw strength from history and the sense of proportion that it brings. The fact is that we faced greater crises in the past and managed to get through them.
But this is not enough. The question is not only will we survive some difficulty, but also where we will find ourselves after it passes. Before the Exodus from Egypt, the people reacted to the harsh reality of slavery in this manner: "But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread." In other words, the more the people were afflicted, the more they grew in numbers, realized success, and flourished. Our purpose is not just to survive a difficult challenge, but rather to learn from it and gain strength -- to blossom, develop, and grow.
In the midst of every kind of distress and challenge, it's worthwhile to remember that "we survived Pharaoh, we will survive this too." But it is also possible to examine the treasures and blessings that might be found within a difficult time, and to utilize the situation at hand in a way that brings about positive change and empowerment.
Shavua tov.


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