This week, we begin reading Sefer Shemos. The Ramban tells us it is the story of our transition from galus to geulah, from exile to redemption. At the end of the book, we still aren’t yet in Israel so clearly geulah cannot mean a geographic description alone. What then does it mean?
The Me’or Einayim (R’ Menachem Nochum of Chernobyl) explains that in truth, galus and geulah are mental states. When our mind is cluttered, anxious, burdened and we are incessantly busy, we are in exile, our da’as suppressed and persecuted. When we have peace of mind, serenity, space to think, interact and be, we have personal redemption.
Pharaoh understood this and so וימררו את חייהם בעבודה קשה he made our lives bitter by burdening us with more and more work making us busier and busier with no time, no space, and no peace. When we are overwhelmed and feel despair, we are in a personal exile. When we replace busyness with productiveness and include margin and space in our thinking, our schedule and our lives, we have been redeemed.
The Slonimer says the first letters of the opening words of the parsha spell שביה, captive. We are in exile when our neshama is held captive by busyness, FOMO, connectivity, technology and the constant background noise. We release ourselves when we live with menuchas ha’nefesh, serenity.
Carve some space in your day with no technology, noise or activity and redeem your neshama today!