In Hashem’s Hands by Nachi Friedman

(2006/5766) The first Pasuk of Masei states, “Eileh Masei Venei
Yisrael Asher Yatzu MeiEretz Mitzrayim LeTzivotam, BeYad
Moshe VeAharon,” “These are the journeys of the children of
Israel, who went forth from the land of Egypt according to
their legions, by the hand of Moshe and Aaron.”  The end of
this Pasuk, “by the hand of Moshe and Aharon,” is
interpreted by some as teaching that because it was done
through human hands, our redemption from Egypt was not a
permanent one.  We subsequently needed to be exiled,
according to this approach, because the first redemption was
not done on a high enough level, i.e.  by Hashem Himself.
The need for Hashem’s direct Hand in redemption
expresses itself in a story of Rabbi Yehoshua of Belz, who
once spent a Shabbat at a hotel in Vienna.  In the midst of a
“tisch” with his students, the Rebbe stopped to listen to a
melodious sound coming from the adjacent room.  When the
Rebbe and his students walked over, they saw a young
soldier sitting alone at a table, learning from a Sefer with
enormous concentration.
The Rebbe waited at the door.  Finally, the soldier
saw him and rushed to greet him.  The Rebbe then asked
what was the soldier’s story was, why he was there, and why
he was learning with so much intensity.
The soldier explained that when he had been
drafted into the army, he had made only one request to
Hashem: that he would not have to desecrate Shabbat.  He
miraculously had been lucky enough to be placed as a
special assistant to an officer.  This officer, unlike any other
officer, allowed him to observe Shabbat on the condition that
he work the other six days diligently.
The soldier concluded, “I vowed that if I was given
the ability to keep the Shabbat every week, I would dedicate
every moment of the Shabbat to serving Hashem.”
When the Rebbe left this young soldier’s room, he
commented to his students, “Who knows if the Torah of that
soldier is not postponing the Geulah?”  The perplexed
students immediately begged for an explanation.  The Rebbe
explained that it is possible that Hashem values this soldier’s
prayers above any of the Korbanot that will be brought in the
Beit Hamikdash.
The Rebbe’s words show that the future Geulah will
be entirely brought by Hashem.  Even though the soldier was
serving Hashem so fully, which we normally assume hastens
the arrival of the Geulah, it was still up to Hashem to decide
what would be best.  Unlike the first redemption, Hashem is
ultimately in total control of this one – and it will be eternal. 
Editor’s note:  For a different approach to redemption see
Rabbi Jachter’s articles on Rabi Akiva as the role model for
Religious Zionism (available at

A Matter of Place by Michael Rosenthal

Worthy of Peace? by Doniel Sherman