We often think of slavery and oppression in physical terms. The Torah certainly emphasizes the physical experience of suffering in Egypt. As with all suffering, however, slavery took a spiritual toll as well.

As our enslavement includes both physical and spiritual qualities, then, the same must be true of our salvation. God broke our physical bonds and extricated us bodily from the land of Egypt. But that physical deliverance from bondage was only part of the story. Ultimately, it served as a prerequisite for a great spiritual emancipation at Har Sinai when we received the Torah. 

Indeed, in the concluding berakhah of Maggid in the Haggadah—the last words of our telling the story of redemption—we praise God “על גאולתינו ועל פדות נפשינו - for our redemption, and for the deliverance of our souls.” This doubling indicates that there were two kinds of redemption: one for the body and one for the soul. Both were necessary, and both are part of the story.

With that in mind, we hope that studying the essays in this reader will help us all to take meaningful steps forward toward a greater spiritual redemption, and that we might be able to recite a berakhah upon the conclusion of the world’s salvation story, speedily in our days.