Have you ever wondered why, in the story of the Exodus from Egypt, God chose to perform such grand miracles? What was the reason behind turning rivers into blood or parting the Red Sea? God certainly didn’t need to perform miracles to save the Israelites from Egypt.
The medieval biblical commentator known as Nachmanides explains that when people began to worship idols, their beliefs in God began to stray. Some denied the very existence of God. Others acknowledged a divine being but doubted His involvement in worldly affairs. This skepticism extended to denying divine providence, likening humans to mere fishes in the sea, subject to the whims of chance rather than divine oversight.
The miracles performed during the Exodus were not just flashy shows of power. They were profound demonstrations meant to shatter these beliefs and doubts. Each miracle was a clear sign that the world has a Creator, a God who is actively involved, who listens, and who can change the course of nature. In essence, these miracles reaffirmed the existence of God who created the world, His providence, and His might.
This, explains Nachmanides, is also why we continue to recall the Exodus through the performance of various commandments. Since God does not perform such open miracles in every generation, these commandments serve as perpetual reminders of these important principles. They are not just historical commemorations but affirmations of our faith. When we observe Passover, attach a mezuzah to our doorpost, or put on phylacteries, we are not just following rituals. We are acknowledging and reinforcing our belief in God’s creation, His involvement in our lives, and the fact that He rules over everything.
These commandments serve as guardians against forgetfulness and skepticism. By observing them, we declare our belief in the God who liberated us from Egypt, who created the world and continues to watch over us, and who rewards or punishes us based on our actions. Each small commandment, whether it seems light or weighty, becomes a precious expression of our gratitude and acknowledgment of God’s role in our lives. The rituals, prayers, and services are not mere formalities; they are expressions of our thankfulness for our existence and sustenance and an affirmation of our relationship with God.
The miracles of the Exodus and the commandments that recall them are vital to maintaining our faith and our relationship with the Divine. They remind us that our existence, our world, and every event in our lives are not mere coincidences but part of a divine plan. By following these commandments, we don’t just remember a past event; we actively affirm our faith in God, acknowledge His divine providence, and express our gratitude to the Creator.