Coming Full Circle

Parshat Shmot begins with the words, “V’Eleh Shmot Bnei Yisrael Habaim Mitzrayima”, “These are the names of the children of Israel who came to Egypt.”

At the end of Sefer Breisheet, we saw Yaakov and his sons’ families go to Egypt to escape the famine in Canaan (the Land of Israel). Bnai Yisrael traveled the length of the Land and settled in Goshen (Egypt).

Rashi comments that God counted the seventy souls by name while they were alive and again after they died to show us how important they were to Him. This is similar to the stars as it says in Isaiah 40:26, “HaMotzi B’Mispar Tzvaam, L’Kulam B’Shem Yikra”, “He who takes out their hosts by number, calls them by name.”

While in Egypt the Israelites grew and grew at an extremely fast rate. They became plentiful as the stars.

Bnei Yisrael went through slavery and very rough times before being redeemed by God.

The redemption from the exile would only be complete once Bnei Yisrael came full circle, wandered in the desert and reentered the Land through what is now Jordan.

This past week on a visit to Eilat, I had the opportunity to travel as our ancestors once did and visit the Israel/Egypt Taba border. At the southern most point in Israel, one can look out and see not only Egypt but Saudi Arabia and Jordan as well. I was able to observe where Bnei Yisrael wandered in the desert and then see the land they traversed upon reentering Israel with more than 600,000 strong.

Traveling in the State of Israel one again sees how we have come full circle. The Jewish people are back in their homeland building up international cities which were virtually empty just a few years ago. As Jews we must be proud of how much Israel has accomplished in such a short time and continue to support new initiatives.