Four steps are necessary to be free from any given “trap” in our lives, all with the help from above:
1. “I will take you out from the suffering of Egypt.” First you must get out of the immediate line of fire. As long as you remain in an abusive situation, in range of a force that is hurting you, you cannot begin the journey toward freedom.
This first step away from the immediate cause of your suffering is only a first step, but it is critical: If you don’t “stop the bleeding,” healing cannot begin.
This step is often the hardest of them all, because after protracted years of pain you can become resigned and even accustomed to the oppression, to the point that it becomes so much part of your life and your being that it is hard to recognize the “enemy,” or even acknowledge that there is an “enemy” (what we call today: denial, but what was called back then: de (River) Nile), and distinguish friend from foe.
2. “I will deliver you from their bondage.” After you are taken out of the actual destructive situation, you must be delivered from the hold of the oppressive force. Even after their hard labor ended the Jewish people still remained in Egypt, under the effect of extensive exposure to their depraved culture and centuries of genocide. Thus the need to be delivered and break free from the psychological hold of being a “slave” for so long.
3. “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.” Finally you get out of “prison,” but the enemy (or a similar one) is still lurking. At this stage you need an “outstretched arm” to embrace you and hold you tight and secure, reassuring you that you will be safe. And “great judgments” that eliminate the enemy, and ensure it does not return. Even after the Exodus, though Egypt remained a superpower and indeed, they pursued the Jews. Until they were utterly defeated at the Red Sea.
4. “I will take you to Myself as a nation, and I will be to you a G-d.” The first three phases were all about freeing yourself from the enemy. But you still are not free until you discover who you are. Freedom is not merely the absence of slavery – getting away from the past and escaping the negative. True freedom is a state of being on its own – the ability to be true to yourself, your true self, and live up to your inner calling and spiritual destiny.
Even after the enemy is vanquished you want a life that is not defined by the negative, even by being opposed to the enemy (like anti-anti-Semitism). You want to build your life in a way that stands for something great (not against something), and a life that will never again allow you to be enslaved, exploited, or constricted in the first place.
All life’s problems begin by allowing ourselves to be subjected and enslaved to man-made conventions. When you worship money, power, connections and social status – you have brought upon yourself an imposing “master” that will subjugate your freedom and ultimately annihilate your inner dignity.
Ultimate freedom is to not be bound to human devices; to discover your Divine calling and serve it with all you faculties and resources.
Only then can you call yourself a free man or woman.