According to what the Rav just said, if the Bnei Yisroel had listened to the advice of Yosef and kept separate from the Egyptians they would have stayed all together in the land of Goshen and all of these problems that came up would not have happened. But didn’t Hashem already promise Avraham Avinu that his descendants would work with avodah kasheh b’eretz lo lohem, with difficult labor in a foreign land?
My friend, I see that you have not been reading Behold A People (the first volume of the Rav’s 3 Volume Jewish History series)! Alright, there are worse things than that.
Being in the land of Goshen was called avodah kasheh. It was a difficult servitude. Why? Because even Yosef, who certainly was not a menial slave, even Yosef was unable to leave Mitzrayim. Even for his father’s funeral he wasn’t given permission to leave unless he left over everything that he possessed in the land of Mitzrayim. In addition, he had to explain to Pharaoh that his father made him swear. If not for that, he wouldn’t have been let out.
And so we see that Yosef and his people was enslaved – they weren’t free to leave. And to be forced to remain in a foreign country against your will, that’s included in the calculation of avodah – that’s labor. Who said that slavery has to mean bricks? Bricks is only a result of mingling with gentiles. When you start mingling with them, so you get bricks.
Like it states in Tehillim (106:35) about the Jews in Mitzrayim: וַיִּתְעָרְבוּ בַגּוֹיִם – And they mingled among gentiles, וַיִּלְמְדוּ מַעֲשֵׂיהֶם – and they learned their deeds. Oh! When they began to learn the ways of the Egyptians, then it says, הָפַךְ לִבָּם לִשְׂנֹא עַמּוֹ – that’s when Hakodosh Boruch Hu turned the hearts of the Egyptians to hate His people, לְהִתְנַכֵּל בַּעֲבָדָיו – to scheme and to plot against His servants. It says that openly in Tehillim. So Dovid Hamelech is explaining that the bricks came because they began to mix. Had they not mixed, they would have been in an honorable servitude; it would have been an avodah kasheh but without bricks.
TAPE # 26