This month, we will begin reading Sefer Shemot, the Book of Exodus. On the Shabbat of January 9th, we will read Parashat Shemot in shul, and on subsequent January Shabbatot we will read Parashiyot Vaera, Bo and Besahalach.
The Ramban refers to Sefer Shemot as "Sefer HaGeulah", the Book of Redemption.
Indeed, if we were to pick out one underlying theme in the book, it would be just that: Redemption.
Sefer Shemot opens with the Israelite bondage in Egypt. Under the most trying of circumstances, the Jewish people persist, and they are ultimately redeemed by the outstretched hand of the Almighty. Hashem visits the ten plagues upon their Egyptian foes, and God's people are emancipated.
But the redemption that occurs in the Book of Exodus is not just a physical redemption. It is a spiritual redemption as well.
By the time the book ends, the Jewish people have truly become God's people. In Parashat Yitro, they receive the law at Sinai, and in the concluding parashiyot of the book they receive the instructions for, and construct, the Mishkan, the Tabernacle. Through these media of Torah and Tabernacle, the Shekhina, God's imminent presence in this world, would dwell with them, both in their travels, as well as in their eventual settlement in the Land of Israel.
No physical redemption can be complete without a spiritual, mental, and psychological redemption as well. This is the message of Sefer Shemot.
Wishing you a month full of joy, health, and happiness,
Rabbi Peretz Robinson