One of the revolutions that Judaism brought to the world was its attitude towards, and its treatment of, slaves. Whereas in the ancient world slaves were considered to be no more than chattel, Judaism taught that slaves are to be accorded the same rights and privileges as their masters.
"An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot” (Shemot 21:24).
It is common after a major event to have difficulty getting back into our daily routine. Whether it is a child's wedding, an exotic vacation or a summer at camp, rarely do we feel ready to return to our daily schedule. Surely the excitement of the events surrounding the receiving of the Torah at Sinai would seem to affect our daily activities similarly! The thunder, lightning, and masses of people all gathered to hear the first two commandments directly from G-d would have put one on a spiritual high from which it must have been hard to come down.
Modern man loves his freedom. No one is going to tell him how to act. This is why giving criticism, even when constructive, is so hard and usually ineffective. It is no coincidence that the obligation to rebuke a person committing a wrong is juxtaposed with the prohibition “Do not hate your brother in your heart” (Vayikra 19: 17). While constructive criticism is a sign of love, it often generates friction between people. We like to do what we want, when we want.
"Do not be a follower of the majority for bad, do not respond to a grievance by yielding to the majority to pervert [justice]" (Shemot 23:2). In the next verse we read "Do not favour the poor". Today's world so often supports the underdog en masse, regardless of the validity of their claim. While such sentiments may be well-intentioned, it does not make them right, regardless of how many people back it.
While there are various themes that run throughout Sefer Shemot, that of slavery is perhaps the central one. This notion is presented, with differing foci, throughout the book and actually carries over to the remaining books of the Chumash.
Knowing the right people is, more often than not, the key to success in the modern world. We in North America refer to “connections”, but in Israel it's called by a less diplomatic but more honest name, protektzia.