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    Why was the slavery necessary?

    The Israelites in Egypt cried long and hard because of their pain.

    God heard their cry and the people were eventually rescued, crossed the Red Sea, and settled in the Promised Land.

    Had there been no bondage there would have been no redemption: had there been no redemption there wouldn’t have been a Pesach. Without Pesach, we would have had no Seder, no matzah, no four cups of wine.

    We realise this, but we still ask: “Why was the bondage necessary? Did God really need us to suffer so much and to cry so long?”

    It’s the Holocaust question: Why did bad things happen to good people?

    The superficial answer is that it tested our character, but shouldn’t we say with “Fiddler on the Roof”, “God, so we’re the Chosen People – but can’t You choose someone else for a change?!”

    The answer is that we really don’t know the answer, or at least not yet. Maybe that’s one of the lingering questions that Elijah the Prophet will answer for us. In the meantime, as Rav Soloveitchik tells us, though we don’t have an answer, we have to have a response.

    We don’t know why we suffer, but we have to have the courage to keep going, build a future and rise above the pain.

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