In this week's Torah portion we begin the story of the slavery and exodus of the Jews in Egypt. The most impactful and central story in all of Jewish history, the Torah tells of eight decades of bitter slavery at the hands of the Pharaohs, followed by the miraculous exodus and giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. 

The story is far more than history. It is meant as an eternal lesson, reminding us to break free of any self-imposed 'slavery' in our lives and reach our true potential. It highlights our millennia old mission to transform darkness into light and find the goodness hidden within challenges - the slavery in Egypt turned out to be the very birth and beginning of the Jewish nation as a people.

Every challenge can be seen as a let down, or a chance to grow. Here are a few ways we can read every letter from A to Z in both a negative and positive way:

With the Exodus being a spiritual journey as well as a literal one, one of the traits which Moses tried to gently turn the Jews away from was Apathy. There is hardly a trait that can hold one back from growth more than apathy. Pharaoh is known in the Torah for being apathetic, both to other people and to G‑d. Perhaps a way to avoid this sentiment is to remember the one Above who is watching over us. Everything happens for a reason and is an opportunity for us to grow. Every person, moment, place and thing truly matter. 

When we truly appreciate how precious every moment is, however, we may begin to Belittle ourselves for not using our time wisely. After all, we could have done so much more! The exodus from Egypt also reminds us that the only thing more valuable than not falling, is falling - and Bouncing back.

It reminds us that in a world of Confusion, we can have Confidence in knowing our 4,000 year old history; how despite many challenges and obstacles we are still here. Pharaoh may have preached Denial of the existence of a heavenly Creator, but the eternal Jewish connection with the Divine endured.

We should never feel Embarrassed or bashful of our history and traditions, rather Empowered by them. In a world where Falsehoods can be more easily found than truths, we can feel Fortunate to be blessed with a guide in the Torah, telling us right from wrong.

But who could be Jewish without Jewish Guilt? What about all of the mistakes we made along the way? The story of the Exodus teaches us that it's never too late to bounce back and grow, as long as we have a Genuine desire to do so. We should never be Hesitant or doubt our potential. For there is nothing more Honorable than taking risks for the cause of making the world a better, holier and kinder place

As nothing is more powerful than bouncing back when we fall, our Imperfections as human beings are therefore not flaws. They are in fact Ideal, enabling us to grow on our own, in a unique, independent way.

Though we at times may feel Jealous of those who don't seem to face the challenges we do, we can try to find Joy in knowing that G‑d wouldn't give us a challenge which we can not only overcome, but grow from.

Instead of feeling Knotted and down, we can treat ourselves with Kindness, thus paving the way for us to be kind with others. Instead of feeling Lame, we can fill ourselves with renewed Life and vigor in knowing that G‑d put us on this earth to brighten it in a way that no one else can.

The best way to transform Misery into Magic is to find the light hidden within the darkness and challenges themselves. We can listen carefully to the chaos and Noise around us, and discover Novel lessons and meaning which can be gleaned from every situation. 

Instead of Oversimplifying and labeling ourselves and others in one way or another, we can adopt an Optimistic approach that even the most challenging person or time can be made to shine. Pain can be turned to Perseverance,  and our constant Qualms and struggles can be appreciated for being  Quintessentially human - for they give us the ability to never be static and always climb higher.

Regret and sadness should usually be shunned - only being used as a way to Revive our commitment to growing more every day. For there is no Shame in being human - it is that very imperfect yet sincere human Self that G‑d craves a relationship with.

But if we are truly so special and unique in G‑d's eyes, why do we constantly feel Temptation to do wrong? Because it is a stepstool to  Thrive. We cannot accomplish truly great things without the ability to err. Perfection may be perfect, but it is also static and dry.

Nothing is Unachievable as long our commitment and resolve is  Unshakeable.  We pray and work towards a world with no Violence, where the infinite Value of each and every individual is treasured and appreciated. We can turn  Waste into WondersYawns of fatigue into  Youthfulness. 

The Torah's story of the remarkable spiritual and material growth of the Jewish people after decades of their spirit and energy being Zapped by slavery, serves as an eternal reminder for us to face each challenge we face with Zest and courage - for it is but another opportunity to grow.

Rabbi Avrohom