The moment the Jewish people started to leave Egypt was monumental because they were transformed instantaneously from slaves to free men.
Although the Exodus began on the first day, it was not complete until the seventh day when the Jews crossed the Red Sea and were out of danger.
There is a famous saying, “it is easier to take the Jews out of Egypt than to take the Egypt out of the Jews.” This statement is referring to the process of removing a mentality of slavery and self-imposed limitations and is alluded to in the Hebrew word for Egypt “mitzriam” which means limitations.
One reason Passover lasts seven days (eight outside of Israel) is to remind us that redemption, both physical and spiritual, is an ongoing process. In fact, 49 days of preparation preceded the apex of the Exodus when the Jewish people received the Torah at Mount Sinai.
Our sages say that Passover points to the ultimate messianic redemption which also entails a long preparation process. This process allows for the refinement of ourselves, society, and the material word by living a life guided by the Torah.
Have you ever wondered what will it be like in the messianic era?
The prophet Ezekiel in chapter 37:24-28, provides the most concise and detailed description of the messianic redemption.
In those verses we are told that their will messianic King who will be a descendant of King David, the Jews will be gathered to Israel from the four corners for the world, the Temple Sanctuary will be rebuild, and a new era of history will be ushered in with everlasting peace and universal awareness of the one true God.
Only when these events have taken place will we have proof that the Messiah has arrived.
The Messiah will not be worshiped as God. He will be a revered righteous human leader and together with the Jewish people he will worship and serve God.
Conspicuously missing from Ezekiel’s detailed description of the Messianic requirements are the Christian claims about the Messiah’s role and identity. For example, Ezekiel chapter 37 would have been the perfect opportunity to mention the birthplace of the Messiah.
This point is omitted because it is not biblical or relevant to the identity of the Messiah.
When Christians promote the idea that the Messiah must be born in Bethlehem, they quote Micah 5:2. However, this verse never uses the word “Messiah” or says that the Messiah must be born in Bethlehem. In context, the verse says that the ancestral roots of the Messiah stem from Bethlehem – a small humble city – because that was the birthplace of King David, the ancestor of the Messiah who will be a humble leader.
The reason Ezekiel doesn’t mention this claim is because he is listing proofs of messiahship. Even if it were a requirement that the Messiah had to be born in a Bethlehem, this would not be a proof since hundreds of thousands of people were born there and this event is not exclusive to any one individual.
The mystery of these missing messianic claims is not a mystery at all because they are not messianic proofs.
As we approach the last day of Passover, we should focus on refining ourselves and society to help make the messianic age a reality.
Have a beautiful Shabbat and a meaningful Passover,
Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz