In our annual progression through the Torah, we are now
deep into slavery in Egypt. And each year, around this time, as I read the first Torah portions in Exodus, the same thought occurs to me: Why is all this necessary? By the end of Jacob’s life, he’s back in the Land of Israel, the land God has given him and his progeny. Why must the Jews leave, become slaves in Egypt, wander through the wilderness, and fight their way back to the place where, at the end of Genesis, they already reside? Why the big detour?
Obviously, there are many answers. It is in Egypt that Jews evolve from a family into a nation. It is in Egypt that God displays to that nation his awesome power. It is in the wilderness that God gives the Torah.
But in their Haggadah, “Go Forth and Learn,” Rabbi David Silber and Rachel Furst offer another reason.