WE’RE FREE! Finally the evil pharaoh frees the people of Israel after 430 years of slavery! The long awaited moment had come. Imagine for a second the excitement and joy the children of Israel felt as they left the land where they had been enslaved for so long. However, in the first verse of this parsha we find something surprising: “It came to pass when Pharaoh let the people go, that God did not lead them [by] way of the land of the Philistines for it was near, because God said, Lest the people reconsider when they see war and return to Egypt” . How is it possible that the people have wanted to return to the austere land of slavery after so many years of yearning for freedom? In addition, how is it possible, having just been eyewitnesses to the terrible and miraculous plagues that the Egyptians received from the hand of God, they have feared the possible enemies that awaited them in the desert?
I want to try to answer this question in two ways: there is a phenomenon called Stockholm syndrome. It is a kind of unconscious defense mechanism of a person who has been kidnapped who, by not being able to defend himself from the aggression of his oppressors, ends up identifying with them, generating feelings of sympathy, liking, and even solidarity. It is true that although the people of Israel had suffered a lot in Egypt, after all they lacked neither shelter nor food, as we see that a part of the people complains in the desert to Moshe: “and the children of Israel They also cried and said: “Who would feed us meat! We remembered the fish we ate in Egypt … the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic; but now our soul is dried away; there is nothing at al. And this we leads to another concept that is very popular: “the comfort zone. ” In the coaching area, it is suggested to leave the comfort zone to reach the next “learning zone” where one can observe, experience, and face new situations. After the “learning zone” there is the “unknown zone” or, as they call it, the “panic zone” . It is the zone where your dreams would be to make them come true, although to get there you have to go further beyond unknown. According to psychology, the “comfort zone” is useful to control situations of stress or disorientation. Perhaps, That was what Hashem wanted to avoid, that bnei Israel feel “panic” and disorientation before an austere and unknown desert that presents possible wars and difficulties. As miraculous as the plagues were, first the children of Israel had to strengthen their faith in God. That is the way to progress step by step in this beautiful challenge called LIFE.