The Exodus was the experience which created the consciousness of the people of Israel. The people formed in the structuring centre which determined its way of organising time and space. Note that I am not saying simply that the Exodus is part of the contents of the consciousness of the people of Israel. If that were the case, the Exodus would be one item of information among others. More than an item of information, it is its structuring centre, in that it determines the integrating logic, the principle of organisation and interpretation of historical experience. That is why the Exodus does not persist as a secondary experience ... It has come to be the paradigm for the interpretation of all space and all time.
Enrique Dussel, Exodus as a Paradigm in Liberation Theology
Liberationists presuppose „…that Israel did not possess a consciousness of people-hood before the great drama of deliverance from Egypt…the actual exodus narrative is assumed to be the result of an elaborate theological reflection…which has…non-mythical‟ account of an escape to freedom.‟ Andrew adds that the exodus is central within the old testament…the key to Israel’s understanding of both God and itself. It is repeatedly re-interpreted throughout the Bible,‟ making the hermeneutical possibilities of the exodus unique for liberation theology. Thus its actual historical happening leaves serves liberationists as a model, done witha reading of the texts on the basis of present reality. Similarly,The Exodus…became the founding event not only for the course of Israelite history, but also, through its kerygmatic appropriation, for other oppressed communities. Hence, its foundational character is continually being reinforced through so many re-readings, a sure sign of its richness as a source. Hence this source is eminent to liberationists as a contact point.
Even when there is no reasonable ground exegetically it seems liberationists continue following this model. For instance, Croatto seems insistence by asserting that, "The creative and varied re-expression of the Exodus theme within the Bible indicates the pre-eminence of the meaning of the Exodus over the event, and this in return becomes a norm of interpretation for us.‟ Thus, Exodus can be imported to a given context, e.g. the poor, the sick and the oppressed.
The Usage of the Exodus account in Liberation Theology: An Evaluative approach. by Revd. Mathew N. Musyoki
To ask whether Moses was a religious or a political leader is in their eyes to ask a silly question. He was manifestly both. Indeed, he was more clearly a political leader than was Jesus of Nazareth - which is why some liberation theologians like Segundo Galilea actually prefer Moses as a model of the political leader.
Do not we in Poland have the right to have our own liberation theology?' asked Halina Bortnowska in 1985. Poles were certainly labouring under the oppression of martial law and in need of delivery from it. But because the word 'liberation' was used by communists (as in 'national liberation movements' of the post-colonial era) and because their own 'liberation' in 1944-5 had proved a hollow sham, Poles were disinclined to use this tainted vocabulary. Liberation! How many crimes have been committed in your name! So many people had been enslaved in the name of liberation.
The 1984 (Papal) instruction also deals with the Exodus, an event, it rightly says, that 'will never be effaced from the memory of Israel':
The exodus, in fact, is the fundamental event in the formation of the chosen people. It represents freedom from foreign domination and slavery. One will note that the specific significance of this event comes from its purpose, for this liberation is ordered to the foundation of the people of God and the covenant cult celebrated on Mt Sinai. That is why the liberation of the exodus cannot be reduced to a liberation which is principally or exclusively political in nature. Moreover, it is significant that the term freedom is often replaced in scripture by the very closely related term redemption.'
This neatly reverses the procedure of liberation theologians: they translated redemption as liberation to make it more vivid; it is now translated back as redemption to make it more 'religious' or 'spiritual'.
Let My People Go: the Exodus and Liberation Theology, PETER HEBBLETHW AITE, Religion, State and Society, Vol. 21, No. 1, 1993
one wonders what [Marxist Liberation Theologists like] Steffens would have said had he lived to hear Jews shout Moses' demand "let my people go!" not at Thatcher and Reagan, but at Brezhnev and Gor- bachev, and had he lived to see death-defying rebels again escaping across the perilous seas, only this time in crude boats launched from "liberated" Vietnam or from Castro's Cuba, crowded with people fleeing those promised lands in hopes of coming to the United States. I suspect many of those Soviet Jewish emigres, those Vietnamese boat- people, and those Cuban refugees would indeed find their own experience in the Book of Exodus,…
see jon Levinson below
This idea of liberation through a change of masters shows how misleading it is to summarize the exodus through the popular slogan, "Let My people go." The full form of the challenge is actually sallab 'et-'ammi w[ya'abd3ni, "Let My people go that they may serve Me."
The term "liberty," therefore, can indeed describe the result of redemption of the sort typified by the exodus, but only if some crucial semantic distinctions are maintained.' One of the several meanings of "liberty" in Western thought is government by law rather than by a tyrant. If this is what we identify as the result of the exodus for Israel, then "liberty" and the process that produces it, "liberation," are appropriate terms for the biblical process.
I have been stressing that the Hebrew Bible does not conceive the exodus as a move from slavery to freedom, either freedom in the older, liberal sense of emancipation from external constraint for the purpose of self-determination, or freedom in the newer, Marxist sense of liberation from oppression and alienation for the purpose of equality, solidarity, and community. It might be rejoined, however, that in Tannaitic as opposed to biblical Judaism we find the exodus conceived in precisely this way, as a move "from slavery to freedom," me-'abdat leherut, in the words of the first century patriarch Rabban Gamaliel II, which have long been incorporated in the Passover Haggadah. In fact, Rabban Gamaliel ruled that in every generation each Jew is to regard himself as if he personally had come out of Egypt (M.Pes. 10:5).
EXODUS AND LIBERATION Jon D. Levenson Cambridge, Massachusetts 1989
It is more likely that by "freedom" he meant the opportunity for Israel to serve YHWH, or, in the words he is actually quoted as using, to accept "the Kingdom of Heaven" (M.Ber. 2:5).
The Holy One, blessed be He, said, The door and the doorpost, which were witnesses in Egypt when I passed over the lintel and the doorposts and proclaimed, For unto me the children of Israel are servants, they are my servants [Lev 25:55], and not servants of servants, and so I brought them from bondage to freedom, yet this [man] went and acquired a master for himself-let him be bored in their presence! (b. Qidd. 22b)"
the distinguishing mark of freedom is not the absence of subjugation, but the one to whom Israel is subjugated and the nature of life sub iugo, "under the yoke." Israel's freedom lies in their subjugation to YHWH, which, in turn, is realized in their glad acceptance of what the Mishnah calls "the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven" (e.g., M.Ber. 2:3), manifest in the life of Torah and commandments. As Rabbi Joshua ben Levi, a Palestinian authority of the third century C.E., remarks about the Decalogue "incised [b3rlt] upon the tablets" (Exod 32:15), "Don't read 'incised' [b3rlt] but rather `freedom' [be-r5t, a word that differs in only one vowel], for no one is free except one who involves himself in the study of Torah" (M. Abot 6:2).
David Daube has argued that a number of details in the exodus story are best seen against the background of the laws of slavery in the Torah. For example, three times we are told of God's disposing the Egyptians favorably toward the Israelites so that the slaves go out with great wealth and not in poverty (Exod 3:21-22; 11:2-3; 12:25-36). Daube connects these strange verses to the requirement in Deuteronomy that the master not let his emancipated slave leave empty-handed, but "furnish him out of the flock, threshing floor, and vat" (Deut 15:12-14).5' If, as I think highly likely, laws like this one do underlie the depiction of Israel's servitude in Egypt, then the effect is to make Pharaoh into a Simon Legree: he becomes the archetype of the impious slave-driver, and his dehumanizing regime becomes the foil for God's liberated kingdom. The implication of this is that ' Pharaoh's deepest problem is his refusal to conform to the laws decreed by the real master of the universe, the God of Israel, whom he brusquely and arrogantly dismisses (Exod 5 :1-2).
Whatever one may wish to speculate about the Moses of history-and all reconstructions of the exodus are exceedingly speculative-the Moses of the text is not appropriately compared to Lenin and others in the Marxist revolutionary tradition. But this does not mean that the exodus is not about liberation. The liberation of which the exodus is the paradigmatic instance is a liberation from degrading bondage for the endless service of the God who remembers his covenant, redeems from exile and oppression, and gives commandments through which the chosen community is sanctified. Whether the life of obedience in Torah in which the exodus eventuates is genuine liberation or simply another form of subjugation is a question that goes beyond the scope of our inquiry. On that question hangs far more than the interpretation of some difficult literature that antiquity has bequeathed us.
Yeshayahu Leibowitz (Hebrew: ישעיהו ליבוביץ; 29 January 1903 – 18 August 1994) was an Israeli Orthodox Jewish public intellectual and polymath. He was a professor of biochemistry, organic chemistry, and neurophysiology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, as well as a prolific writer on Jewish thought and western philosophy. He was known for his outspoken views on ethics, religion, and politics. Leibowitz cautioned that the state of Israel and Zionism had become more sacred than Jewish humanist values and controversially went on to describe Israeli conduct in the occupied Palestinian territories as "Judeo-Nazi" in nature while warning of the dehumanizing effect of the occupation on the victims and the oppressors see
All Leibowitz' articles on redemption were published immediately after, within a few years of, the 1967 Six-Day War, which fueled the messianic forces within religious Zionism. Israel's victory was perceived as an almost 'unconcealed miracle', the victory over Jordan and the capture and pation (or 'liberation') of the West Bank (or Judea and Samaria) elevated messianic interpretations of the historical event to a new level. Redemption was seen by many of the followers of R. Zvi Yehuda (the son of R. Isaac Hacohen Kook) as a divinely ordained historical unfolding before their very eyes. Against this backdrop, Leibowitz' writings on redemption reveal themselves as an attempt to counterattack assault upon what he perceived as a potentially fatal threat to true Judaism and the true messianic vision of Judaism.The threat of false messianism always existed," but the 1967 military victory escalated the risk, Leibowitz rose to this perceived challenge. In his short article, "Redemption and the Dawn of Redemption,""' one of seven short essays collected in the chapter, "The Six Day War" in Judaism, Jewish People, and the State of Israel, Leibowitz ties his theological discussion to an historical political emergency and indicates its political ramifications
The language is plain and direct, the titles appeared as headlines: "Perspectives"; "The Disco-weeping-wall" (dis-Kotel) ; "The . . . meaning of heroism and victory"; "The Territories"; "The Future of Jerusalem". In this context, "Redemption and the Dawn of Redemption" "Atchalta De-Geula" expression in Aramaic, "Atchalta De-Geula" (the beginning of Redemption).
It originally appeared in Turei Yeshurun, a periodical associated with the modern orthodox Yeshurun Synagogue in Jerusalem. The timing of the appearance of this article is also notable, because it was published and distributed to the congregants of Yeshurun immediately before the Passover holiday, 14 of Nisan 1971
Judaism, as empirical fact, as a living entity, is the acceptance of the yoke of Torah and commandments, and its observance at any time and in any circumstances." 'The present' stretches between the mythological past of the Kingdom of David and the messianic era, the present is the sole concern of Judaism i.e., the halacha, and therefore, is an existential state to which Jewish law is dedicated. In other words, the basis for all Jewish belief occurs in 'the present time', in a necessarily un-redeemed state. When messianic hopes and visions erode the observance of Torah and Mitzvot, and the mythological past and utopian futures collapse into the present tense, Judaism is in danger.
In his discussion of Passover, Leibowitz stresses that the most glorious historical-miraculous event in Jewish history did not lead to faith but a failure. "The redeemed people failed so completely that they caused "first redeemer", Moses, to fail along with them. ... The Exodus from is, and (at the same time) is not, a redemption.
God may well have been present in the act of redemption at Passover but the people were not.
Significantly, Leibowitz provided a halachic proof rather than any mystical sentiment or spiritual enthusiasm to determine and establish the symbol commemorating deliverance and redemption by the Hallel prayer, a verbatim recitation from Psalms 113-118, a praise and thanksgiving song. On Passover, the celebration of the redemption from Egypt, the Hallel is read only on the first day, "not even on the seventh day, the day of deliverance on which the mighty hand of God was revealed on the sea-for deliverance did not involve true redemption."
Leibowitz diminished the redemptive significance of Passover by emphasizing the core of Judaism as acceptance of the 'Yoke of Torah and Commandments' and by the same token, he raised Hanukah's importance.
The danger he saw was the corruption of religion by the powers of government in a way that led to false messianism, led by religious right- wing politics.
Two decades later, Leibowitz labeled this corruption of the correct order of things not just idolatry but also fascism- in some cases Hitlerism.
Leibowitz linked that understanding of redemption to any false messianic hopes held by religious Jews in his own time. They are, as the Christians and the Sabbateans before them, idolaters. He warns that Jews must not confuse military victory and national political deliverance as the 'dawn of redemption'. For ". there is no hope for a Jewish religion which places a messianic halo over a king who did not depart from all the sins of Yerovam the son of Nevat which he made Israel sin" only because "he restored the border of Israel . ..
For Leibowitz the true messiah might be the messiah that "never comes", the ideal postulate that guides and stimulates the service of God by observance of the Torah. Here we come full circle. The messiah represents an eternal task that a postulate that inspires the life of Torah and Mitzvot.
Leibowitz' messianism dictates life to be lived in opposition to religious heresies such as Christianity, Sabbateanism, and, in modern Israel, right-wing religious Zionism.
When Leibowitz was asked by students what could done to correct the Jewish people's misconceptions in regard to redemption and better prepare for the ideal redemption, Leibowitz answered that education of Torah for its own sake, and not for the service of national goals the way "To return the heart of the people toward the idea of redemption. The first thing that has to be done is to free Religion from its despised as a concubine of the secular government.
Redemptive Theology in the Thought of Yeshayahu Leibowitz
Author(s): Haim O. Rechnitzer, Source: Israel Studies , Fall, 2008, Vol. 13, No. 3, Israeli Secular-Religious Dialectics (Fall, 2008), pp. 137-159, Published by: Indiana University Press https://www.jstor.org/stable/30245835