The Exodus

[See the glossary if you do not understand some of the words in this story.]

It was quite dark in the synagogue, and no one was around. So the Scroll and the Lamp were having one of their little chats. "What are you teaching the congregation just now?" asked the Lamp, his gleam brightening a little as he spoke. "I am telling them about the Exodus," said the Scroll. "What is that?" said the Lamp. "Big words always get me confused." "Well, it is like this --" said the Scroll, but he didn't get any further because he was interrupted by the Kiddush Cup, who, hearing the conversation, had come into the Synagogue.

"I can tell you all about the Exodus," declared the Kiddush Cup, "because almost every time Kiddush is said over me, the Exodus, or yetsiat mitsrayim , as I call it in Hebrew, is mentioned. And especially at Passover, when I am used no less than four times, we remember that event of the Exodus." "All right," said the Lamp. "So now I know that Exodus means going out of Egypt, but why should we care about that? Egypt is a long way from here."

The Kiddush Cup was about to answer, when the Megillah, which contains the story of Esther, spoke up. "That is easy," said the Megillah. "The Exodus is a very important event in history, just like the story of Esther. You see, once there was a man named Mordecai, who had a niece whose name was Esther --"

"Just one moment," said a voice. "It is a good six weeks until Purim, so we will not hear the story of Esther just now." The speaker was one of the festive bunches or lulabim used during Succót who was speaking. The festive bunch went on: "When the Hebrews left Egypt they wandered in the wilderness, and so we have the festival of Succót -- in which I have a certain part to play" he said, bowing deeply. By this time, the Lamp had grown quite impatient. "Will no one answer my question?" he said. "The Kiddush Cup tells me that he often hears the Exodus mentioned. And the Megillah tells me that it is like the story of Esther. And the Lulab tells me that the Hebrews wandered in the desert. But no one tells me why I, Mr. Lamp, should care about it in the least."

"Don't get so excited," said the Pointer. "Just listen." And he pointed in the direction of the Hebrew School, next door to the synagogue. From there, he heard the voices of the children, reciting the first of the Ten Commandments written in the book of Exodus.

I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, our of the house of slaves.

"Now I understand," said the Lamp. We remember the Exodus because it was God who was behind it, and caused it, showing us that he protects and cares for us. And what is more, Egypt was a house of slaves, a place where men and women were badly treated, and forced to do things they did not wish to do. Thus God showed that he meant mankind to be free, as we are in this country."

"You have got the idea of the Exodus very well," said the Pointer. "What a pity you are a lamp. You should have been a preacher."