Reb Nochum from Chernobyl explainded in his sefer Meor Eynayim on Parshas Shmos on the pasuk, “Vayakam melech chodosh al Mitzrayim,” (And a new king rose up over Egypt) He quotes the gemara that Rashi quotes on that pasuk, “There’s a dispute between Rav and Shmuel; One says it was literally a new king. And the other says it was the same king, but he made new decrees against the Jews.” He points out that we say, “Eilu v’eilu divrei Elokim Chayim,” “These and these are the words of the Living G-d,” But he asks, “Even though we know that it is only when Moshiach comes that we will understand how two contradictory opinions in the Torah can both be true, either one or the other actually happened. Either there was a new king literally or there wasn’t!
He answers that Rav and Shmuel are speaking on a totally different level. They are discussing the redemption of “Daas” when the Jews are redeemed from Mitzrayim. Daas, he explains, means knowing that Hashem creates and makes all of ones’s kochos and life at every moment. And when one isn’t aware of that, they’re lacking Daas. And while the Jews were in Mitzrayim, Daas was in Exile, because they weren’t on the level of conciousness where they were aware of Hashem’s connection to every movement at every second. That’s the meaning of daas being in exile in mitzrayim.
He says that the Avos had Daas Elyon. They kept the Torah before it was given. He explains that this means they knew and fulfilled the Torah on the level of it’s higher root, but not necessarily in the revealed way in which we know the Torah today. Their level of revealing the Torah was not so much brought into this world. And since the Jewish people didn’t have that Daas/conciousness of Hashem’s creation of every movement at every second, they were considered lacking Daas.
But when the Jewish people were redeemed from Egypt and they received the Torah in a revealed way in this world (not only on the Avos’ level of Daas Elyon), then they saw Hashem’s malchus (kingship) in every action of the world. That’s what it means that a new king arose over Egypt. When daas went out of exile at yetziyas mitzrayim, Hashem’s malchus was established “anew,” in the world, and it was like Hashem became king right then. That’s the meaning of “a new king being established over Mitzrayim.” And the other opinion, which doesn’t conflict is saying that this daas which was revealed in the world isn’t new, but came to maturity at that time. Just like a Katan doesn’t have daas to make kinyanim, or to be mekadeish an isha,, but when he turns 13 + 1 day he gets daas, so too the daas of the Jewish people wasn’t fully revealed in this world till yetziyas Mitzrayim. That’s the meaning of “nischadeish gezeirosav.” Hashem’s malchus became revealed and came more to fruition and revelation at that time, but it wasn’t like a completely new malchus, like the first opinion holds.
We can gain from this that we should always stirive to have “Daas,” meaning to always reflect on how Hashem creates and moves every part of me at every moment.
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