CHASSIDISHE STORY ON THE PARSHA
ואלה שמות בני ישראל הבאים מצרימה (שמות א:א)Why does it say these are the children of Yisrael (Yaakov Avinu) who are coming to Mitzrayim - הבאים is present tense – versus אשר באו - they came, which is past tense?
Because during the 210 years that the Jews were in Mitzrayim, they kept themselves estranged from the Egyptians, as if they had just arrived. They didn’t change their attire, language, or names. Therefore, it says ‘הבאים’, since they kept to their traditions each day anew, as if they had just arrived.
A chassid was struggling with parnassah (finances), and he asked Reb Yehoshua of Belz zt’’l for a blessing for good livelihood. Reb Yehoshua advised him to travel to America, where he will be very successful, on the condition that he should send the Rebbe letters from time to time and share his financial and spiritual status.
The chassid followed the advice from the Rebbe, and at first sent letters depicting his struggles in America. He was struggling both financially and spiritually –Shabbos, Kashrus, and Torah were a tremendous challenge. The chassid concluded each letter asking the Rebbe, “Should I remain in America, or return home?”
With each letter, Reb Yehoshua replied with words of encouragement and told him to stay living in America. After a while, the chassid finally saw success in business and he started becoming acquainted with his environment. He made good friends and he was satisfied with life in America. When he shared the good news with Reb Yehoshua of Belz, the Rebbe replied, commanding him to leave America and his business and return back to Galicia.
The chassid listened to his Rebbe and returned home to Belz. When he arrived, he asked Reb Yehoshua to explain, “Why when times were difficult you encouraged me to stay, and when I finally started being comfortable, you told me to return?”
Reb Yehoshua answered, “Yes, you’re right! As long as you felt like a stranger, and the American culture didn’t pull you, I wasn’t worried about your spiritual state. But as soon as you became successful, and you started acclimating to your surroundings, I was afraid you’ll assimilate in the ‘melting pot’ of (then) America.”
Filed under Parshas Shemos | The Mittler Rav