In this week’s parsha, Moses comes to the Israelite Nation with a message of redemption from the Almighty. Moses informed the people that after years of enslavement and oppression, G-d had promised to free them and return them to the land of their fathers.
One would expect the people to be overjoyed. This is what they had been waiting for! Yet the response of the people was disappointing: “And they didn’t listen to Moses because of lack of spirit and hard work” (Shmot 6:9). Why were they so non-plussed at Moses’ prophecy?
The answer lies in Pharo’s command, “Burden the people with work…that they shouldn’t pay heed to false words” (Shmot 5:). Here is the strategy of all dictators and oppressive regimes. When a person is subjected to oppression, in the beginning he generally attempts to fight it. When this fails he usually sinks into depression and afterwards comes acceptance and apathy.
In order for him to be able to dream of freedom and plan a rebellion, he must be able to think, he must have time. The solution of Pharo and his imitators is to burden him with work. Keep him busy. One who toils from sunrise to sunset simply does not have the strength for deep thought when he gets home. Constant work that wearies the body and soul prevents one from contemplating the past or planning for the future. He is condemned to writhe in the mire of the present, living from one day to the next. It is therefore not surprising that when Moses reveals God’s promise of the coming redemption, the people hardly bat an eyelid. They cannot even begin to comprehend the vision. Redemption? Freedom? These concepts could not have been further from their minds. Keep your nutty prophecies to yourself! We have to complete the daily quota of bricks! The only thing you’re accomplishing is to stir up Pharo against us!
This tried and tested method of preventing people from thinking is alive and well today whether it be in democracies or pseudo-democracies such as Israel. But today, with the help of modern technology, the techniques are simply more sophisticated. The task-master has been replaced by the Satan-box known as television. The television thinks for him. Modern man plops himself in front of it and is drowned in a flood of lies, half-truths, and distortions without him realizing anything. He sits staring at the set in a trance as he is engulfed by its artificial, blue light. He is force-fed a recipe of fast moving pictures, arousing photographs, and advertisements amidst blaring music. He is left a confused, debiliated nebish. He is a sponge which absorbs all this.
And when not watching television, he has computer games, electronic and video games, movies and disco. He time is filled with worthless activities intended to prevent him from pondering, “Who Am I”, “What is my purpose in life?”, “Am I satisfied with the present situation or is there something I can do to change it?”
The first step towards redemption is realizing that we have not been redeemed yet. The present regime in Israel is oppressive, corrupt, and anti-God. The sinister cabal that rules Israel drugs the nation by way of the media, crushing its spirit with an iron heel as they forge ahead with their demonic schemes. We can overthrow them, but first we must take the time to think.