Lent Day Thirty Three

page 128
"... the tension of exile and redemption is always present. Too great confidence accomplished redemption cuts one off from God, the redeemer; actual suffering, on the other hand, also prevents one from hearing His word. The key to the paradox is narrative: the effort to retain the moment of redemption, to remember it and know it. For this, the dynamic of listening and speaking, on the one hand, and of the Exile of the Word, on the other, must remain potent."

"The world of Mitzrayim, of Egypt, dominated by an unhearing, unspeaking Pharoah, becomes the environment of imagination. The narrative of redemption repeats constantly 'at all times.' The complex dynamics of Moses—who is 'not a man of words,' and yet comes to 'speak so much'—compels and resists systematic resolution.

In the Chasidic perception, Egypt has not been defeated. 'To articulate the past historically,' writes Walter Benjamin, 'does not mean to recognize it as it really was' (Ranke). It means to seize hold of a memory as it flashes up at a moment of danger.' (91) Egypt is the eternal 'moment of danger.' To tell of release and freedom—the narrative of hope—a continuing dialectic is necessary."