The main essence of the difference between exile and redemption exists in the mystery of consciousness (“Da’as”) – the mentality of redemption in contrast to the mentality of exile, the secret of “Constricted Consciousness” and “Expanded Consciousness.” This means that while the distinction between the two is certainly externally recognizable, for example exile as the nation’s banishment from the land and their dispersion, this is only an eternal difference. The essential interiority of the difference exists within the souls and their spiritual level, expressed in their degree of consciousness. This difference is also the fundamental distinction between Eretz Yisrael and the other lands: Eretz Yisrael is a place of knowledge of the true G-d. Therefore, it was the loss of this consciousness that led to the exile, for the nation had lost touch with their inner connection to the spiritual level of Eretz Yisrael.

This concept, that the foundational distinction between exile and redemption is rooted in a shift in consciousness is explained in the holy writings, as the verse states, “Therefore, May nation was exiled without consciousness.” (Yeshayahu 5:13) For the essence of exile manifests when the mind falls into smallness, and the body follows suit. The opposite is true as well – the primary redemption is rooted in a completed consciousness, as expressed in the verse describing the pinnacle of the redemption, “For the earth will be filled with the consciousness of Hashem” (Ibid, 11:9), “A man will no longer instruct his friend… for they will all know Me.” (Yermiyahu, 31:33)

Therefore, understand well that the primary development of the redemption at this time, as well as its primary unfolding in the actuality of our existence, depends on this point – our ability to acquire the da’as of redemption, an expanded consciousness that is the practical expression of our awakening from slumber, from the exile of our da’as, from our constricted consciousness, returning to us the consciousness of wakefulness, the intellect of a vibrant and living person, the perception of a redemptive life. This is the awakening referred to in Pasach Eliyahu, hinted to in the verse, “Arise and waken, you who sleep in the earth.”

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Rav Reuven Sasson
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