Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Ki Teitzei - 5781
Judaism is all about memory. We are constantly expected to remember events, even those that predate us by thousands of years. The first stop on our journey of recollections is the exodus from Egypt. A day does not go by where we do not utter the words: "Remember that Hashem took you out from Egypt." Clearly, by stating that the departure from the land on the Nile is something we must be grateful for, the experience there was not a good one. Yet, in this week's Paresha, the Torah tells us: "Do not despise an Egyptian, because you resided as foreigners in their country." The question is, why are we to withhold a natural feeling from a nation that afflicted our nation with brutality for many years? In addition, why are we giving the Egyptians credit for hosting us when it was done against our will?
Commentators explain that when a person benefits from a kind act and does not recognize and acknowledge it, he damages within himself the attribute of appreciation. Despite the fact that the Egyptians were bitter hosts to our ancestors, the Torah wants us to focus on the fact that they welcomed us in the days of Yosef, when we were not able to survive in the Land of Canaan.
Gratitude is fundamental to the Torah Jew. By overcoming a negative feeling and recognizing the good done to us, we become true B’nai Torah.