In the beginning of Sefer Shemos, the Bnei Yisrael have grown from a family of 70 people to a mighty nation. Then, they were tricked into becoming slaves to Paroh and had little hope of freedom. But Hashem never forgot his promise to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, and began to make steps to take them out.
After centuries of slavery with no message from Hashem, the pesukim are suddenly flooded with references of Hashem remembering His obligations towards Bnei Yisrael. “וַיִּשְׁמַע אֱלֹהִים אֶת נַאֲקָתָם וַיִּזְכֹּר אֱלֹהִים אֶת בְּרִיתוֹ אֶת אַבְרָהָם אֶת יִצְחָק וְאֶת יַעֲקֹב. וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיֵּדַע אֱלֹהִים” “God heard their moaning, and God remembered His covenant with Avraham, with Yitzchak, and with Yaakov. God saw the Children of Yisrael; and God knew.” (Shemos 2:24-25). These four phrases appear and say that Hashem began to pay attention to the Bnei Yisrael, all within two pesukim; what is the meaning behind this sudden abundance of attention?
The Ramban explains that the answer lies in the pasuk immediately preceding these two. “וַיֵּאָנְחוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מִן הָעֲבֹדָה וַיִּזְעָקוּ וַתַּעַל שַׁוְעָתָם אֶל הָאֱלֹהִים מִן הָעֲבֹדָה” “The Children of Yisrael groaned because of the work and they cried out. Their outcry because of the work went up to God” (23). The meforshim explain that the word “וַיִּזְעָקוּ” “and they cried out”, means that they davened to Hashem to save them. Until this point, Hashem had hidden Himself from His nation, allowing them to suffer in slavery. But at this point, “וַיֵּדַע אֱלֹהִים”, Hashem once again knew Bnei Yisrael. Rashi explains this phrase that “He placed His eyes on them”, He stopped ‘ignoring’ their suffering and began to redeem them. This was significant because the Bnei Yisrael were not worthy of being redeemed at this point, yet because of their tefillos, Hashem redeemed them anyway.
Says the Ramban, the Torah is sharing with us the secret for redemption. Even though they didn’t deserve it, because of their tefillos, the Bnei Yisrael in Mitzrayim were redeemed before their time. That’s why the pesukim give us (at least) four different references of Hashem’s obligations towards us; even though they weren’t worthy, because “וַיִּזְעָקוּ”, because they davened to Hashem, He was forced to change directions and redeem us earlier than expected.
This principle is a secret of the universe that the Torah shares with us, and is applicable even nowadays. We don’t and can’t know how long our current exile will last, but by following this principle, we can force Hashem to ‘remember’ and pay attention to our situation. This will, b’ezrat Hashem, help bring us to our final redemption.
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