Keeping A Promise
In the Passover Haggadah it states, “Bless is the One who kept His promise to Yisrael.” This is to show our gratitude that Hashem kept his guarantee that he uttered to Avraham hundreds of years earlier when He foretold, “Your children will be strangers in a foreign land where they will enslave and afflict them…and afterwards they will go out in great wealth.”
This is difficult to understand. Is there anything praiseworthy in saying that Hashem kept his promise?!
It is the basic expectation of any person that one has to be a man of his word! This doesn’t seem to obligate us to display boundless gratitude.
Furthermore, our Sages say that The Jews were bare from Mitzvos (and weren’t worthy of being redeemed until (Hashem gave us the 2 Mitzvos of Circumcision and the Pesach sacrifice. The question is obvious. What difference does it make whether the Jews had merit or not? Wasn’t Hashem obligated to redeem them because of his promise?
The commentaries on the Haggadah explain that such a promise would only be applicable if the Jews were still the “children of Avraham. If they would have totally assimilated in to the “Melting pot” of Egypt and were indistinguishable from their neighbors the promise would no longer be relevant. We are thanking Hashem not merely for keeping his promise rather for standing guard to ensure that we would not totally assimilate and be lost forever. One example of this is the fact that we only stayed in Egypt for 210 years rather than the 400 years that were foretold. (Instead, the 400 years were calculated from the birth of Yitzchak (Isaac) since technically now the seed of Avraham dwelled in a foreign land it was as if the Exile had already begun.
For the same reason they had to have the merit of at least a few Mitzvos before the Exodus in order to earn the appellation “Children of Avraham.”
Today we are also in Exile and eagerly anticipate the arrival of Moshiach. We must ensure that we act like Jews and have merit to be redeemed, yet at the same time we can rest assured that Hashem is assisting us in maintaining our identity as Jews!
By Rabbi Sharaga Thav