Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Beshalach - 5779
GETTING EGYPT OUT OF THE JEW
Many people I know love traveling lightly. The last thing they want to do is take with them something that they will never use during their trip. “Only the necessary shall be schlepped!”
As Klal Yisrael left Egypt, the Torah notes that Moshe took the remains of Yosef to fulfill his will that he be buried in Eretz Yisrael. Taking Yosef with them was more than just fulfilling a promise: it was actually part of the process of the exodus.
Despite the fact the nation left Egypt physically, many Jews still identified themselves as Egyptian. For such individuals, Yosef was the symbol of the ideal Jew: a person who can reach the pinnacle of society - in exile - despite his Jewish roots. Unfortunately, the departure from exile and having Israel as our destination is not enough to uproot such views.
By taking Yosef with them and reminding the people that Yosef wanted Eretz Israel to be his final resting place, and not Egypt, Moshe affirmed to all Jews that Egypt and its culture has no place in the Jewish heart. This indeed was a crucial component of Yitziat Mitzraim.