Me’am Loez on Exodus 1:22; commentary of Rabbi Yaakov Culi (17th-18th c. Turkey), translated from the original Ladino by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan:

“Every boy that is born you shall throw into the Nile.” Throughout all this, the Israelites did not know that this was a plan devised against them by Pharaoh. They were led to believe that such ghastly acts were being done by individual Egyptians on their own initiative. Many Israelites even complained to the authorities, and were told that if proper witnesses would be brought, the perpetrators would be punished. Eventually, of course, the Israelites discovered the truth.”

A new midrash:

“God saw our suffering, our toil, and our oppression.” (Deuteronomy 26:7)

“Our suffering” — This represents the interpersonal realm, how we treat others. We may ourselves treat workers fairly and refrain from racist comments, but that is the barest beginning.

“Our toil” — This represents the ideational realm, both in our own heads and in the society at large. We absorb racist, exploitative ideas from the moment we are born.

“Our oppression” — This represents institutional racism, where the very structures of our society — economics, politics, alleged meritocracy — hem us in by the color of our skin.

We cannot wait for God to take us out of this Egypt. We are working together on ending Egypt for all of us.

haggadah Section: -- Exodus Story
Source: The Other Side of the River, The Other Side of the Sea