Beshalach – Why Leave Our Good Life in Egypt?

The initial phrase of the Parsha, “Beshalach Par’oh et Ha’am”, means “when Paro’h dispatched the Jewish people out of Egypt. You would think the Jewish people would rush out eagerly? Why the need for Par’oh to force them out after the last plague of the death of first borns? Something was apparently restraining them. Think about it. What if you had the opportunity to leave USA or Australia or Europe and be provided with free housing and average income in Eretz Yisrael. Would you go? And if not, why not? The power of inertia is a strong principle in science – and we can borrow it for sociology as well. You are comfortable. You know your environment. You have friends and jobs. Yes there is anti-Semitism, but at least you are settled. The willpower to leave is totally overwhelmed by your comfort zone. Same with the Jews of Egypt. Their life was in most ways miserable. They were the lower-class labourers in national building projects. They took out the garbage from Egyptian homes. But there was security. There was food. There was a sense of surety about tomorrow. To leave and face an uncertain future in a desert loosely reassured by with some nebulous promise of a Mt. Sinai event they were not at all familiar with, was not enough of a draw. Hence Par’oh himself, desperate to rid his country of the plagues, actually forced them out., As might be the case when Moshiach comes and provides us with the means to leave for Eretz Yisrael. How willing will you be to go?