8.3. The Five Stages of Redemption (6:6-8)

(6) Say, therefore, to the Israelite people: I am the Lord. I will free you from the labors of the Egyptians and deliver you from their bondage. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and through extraordinary chastisements.

(7) And I will take you to be My people, and I will be your God. And you shall know that I, the Lord, am your God who freed you from the labors of the Egyptians.

(8) I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession, I the Lord.”

(6) Say, therefore, to the Israelite people: God now directs Moses to appeal not to the elders, but to the people directly.

I am the Lord: The time has come to fulfill My promise.

(6-7) I will free you from the labors of the Egyptians and deliver you from their bondage. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and through extraordinary chastisements. And I will take you to be My people, and I will be your God: These are the first four “expressions of Redemption,” which correspond to the four stages of Divine revelation in the world. “I will free you” refers to the physical exodus, “and deliver you” means the spiritual and psychological exodus, “I will redeem you” means salvation from persecution, and “I will take you” is the people’s transition to a direct connection with the Almighty.

The Midrash understands the words “And I will take you to be My people, and I will be your God” as referring to the Giving of the Torah. Strictly speaking, however, there is no mention of the giving of the Torah in this passage. Everything here relates to the “nationalist aspect,” corresponding to the covenant of the Patriarchs (not the covenant of Sinai).

During the Talmudic era, these four “expressions of Redemption” were incorporated into the Passover Haggadah as the central theme of the annual retelling of the Exodus at the seder on the first night of Passover (two nights in the Diaspora).

And you shall know that I, the Lord, am your God who freed you from the labors of the Egyptians: The result of all this will be that you will “know” – i.e., understand – that it is God Who leads you and Who determines the course of history.

(8) I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession, I the Lord: This is the fifth of the “expressions of Redemption,” but it is set off from the first four. The first four implied no specific action on the part of the people, and set no conditions, but at the fifth stage, preconditions are set. The Jewish nation can inherit their Land only if the people understand that it is God Who leads them and drives the course of history, and that the historical events all around them are happening only by God’s command.

Seeing the ongoing history of the Jewish people as a dialogue between man and God is among Judaism’s most essential concepts.

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Bible Dynamics, VOL. 2. EXODUS Copyright © by Orot Yerushalaim / P. Polonsky / English translation of the Torah by the Jewish Publication Society, New JPS Translation, 1985. With sincere gratitude for the permission to use. All Rights Reserved.

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