PROPHECY. We don't have prophecy in our time. Heard that before? NOT TRUE! Maybe we don't have new prophecy today, but we certainly have prophecy in our time. We've had it since Moshe was tending his father- in-law's sheep and an angel appeared to him from a bush that was burning but was not being consumed.
From the moment that G-d took over at the bush and started talking to Moshe, we've had prophecy. Throughout all of Torah and then throughout most of Tanach, we have prophecy. The Torah is the prophecy of Moshe Rabeinu and NACH is a collection of the prophecies of dozens of other prophets.
So let's talk a fresh look at the prophecy at the beginning of our sedra, Va'eira - from a different angle.
Original episode: G-d tells Moshe to go to the people of Israel and tell them - I am G-d. I will take you out of Egypt... I will take you to Me as a nation... I will bring you to the Land I promised to give to your forefathers... I will give it to you... The people were exhausted and dispirited, and they didn't listen to Moshe.
That's what happened to first time. But the Torah which G-d gave us, contains this prophecy. Which means that it was meant for us too. All we need to do is hear this prophecy and see it from a different angle.
G-d told Moshe to include in the Torah that he would write at G-d's dictation, this prophecy of Geula, so that Jews of all generations - including our generations, will not just read about something that happened a long time ago, but will hear well G-d's words through Moshe... see them from a different angle... and react to them.
G-d promised to take us out of Egypt, to save us from their labor and oppression, and redeem us.
And He did! And we are commanded to remember the Exodus all the days of our lives. And we have many mitzvot incumbent upon us that remind us of the fulfillment of the first part of the prophecy. Its first pasuk. Its first three terms.
But there is more, and that more is a prophecy to which we must respond anew - without exhaustion and lack of spirit. We much respond with great belief and with great enthusiasm and with great commitment.
G-d said He would take us to Him as a Nation. And He did. And in that same second pasuk, He commanded us to accept Him as our G-d. And to know that it was He who took us out of Egypt.
That's not just part of a story. That is Moshe Rabeinu speaking in G-d's name to each of us. And that requires us to re- examine our belief in G-d and our commitment to Him. To His Torah. To His mitzvot. We are hearing a prophecy today. Every day. And our response must not be - we didn't listen to Moshe... We have the advantage of hindsight. So our response should reflect the lessons we learn from all that happened - way back then, and since.
Back to the three-part prophect. Let's say (it can probably be argued otherwise) that the first part (three terms) have come to pass. For us, then, it is not an active prophecy. (Remember, it can be argued that we need being taken out, saved, redeemed from other places - literal or figurative. But not here.)
OTOH, the second and third parts (p'sukim) speak to us today as much as they did way back when.
Notice that the first pasuk does expect our participation, other than leaving Egypt when told to. (That so many Jews in Egypt did not go out, is another issue for another time.)
But when G-d said that He will be our G-d and that we will know that it was He who took us out - that requires our active participation. He can take us as His Nation without our doing anything, but He cannot be our G-d without our NAASEH V'MISHMA, without of commitment to Him, to His Torah and to His Mitzvot. You can lead a horse to water...
So too, the third part of the prophecy. Same idiom. V'HEIVEITI is leading us to Eretz Yisrael, but when G-d says V'NATA-TI, that He is giving the land to us as a MORASHA, that requires our agreement.
Prophecy is alive and well in our time. Moshe and our other Nevi'im still speak to us. Do we hear them?