Parashat Vaerah

Parashat Vaerah January 3, 2008

Redemption from Egypt did not happen overnight as we know, but stage by stage. The curtain is raised as Bnei Yisrael, Moshe Rabbeinu, Pharoh and the Egyptians are about to enter a new scene- Hashem hardening Pharoh’s heart. Bnei Yisrael are in a complete state of exile in their bodies, spirits and souls. The form of enslavement that Pharoh inflicted on them did not leave any time or space for them to tap into the life force of their souls. At this point they were hanging onto the second to the lowest rung of the ladder of idolatry and impurity, the 49th level. They were drowning in the fleshpots of Egypt. In this state they were not able to unfasten the shackles of their persecution which directly affected their spirit.

In order to move things along, Hashem decided to harden Pharoh’s heart. In turn, He performed miracles through the vehicle of Moshe Rabbeinu. Every time this happened, a link on the slave chain became unfastened and another vertebra in their backs straightened and added life force to their spirits. With every hardening of Pharoh’s heart, they experienced the Shechinah and grew closer to Him. They reached the top of the ladder when they discovered their true identity, their great spirit (Nefesh). This new spiritual height gave them the strength needed to slay the Egyptian god and turn it into the Pascal sacrifice. Bnei Yisrael reached internal salvation and were raised to a level of a redemptive spirit. They were ready to leave. Right now!

The Kabbalah describes this as the level where the body and soul function as one unit. The soul perceives the spirit transmits and body acts. Our Rabbis teach us that there are four different descriptive words referring to redemption in the Torah. In essence each of these words represents one of the stages of redemption outlined above. 1) Hotzeyti- He took us out (body) 2) Hitzalti- He saved us (nefesh-spirit) 3) Ga’alti- He redeemed us (neshama-soul) and finally 4) Heveyti- He brought us- referring to the bringing together the above levels.

This shiur was based upon the Torah teachings of Harav Hakadosh, Reb Chaim HaCohen (Hachalban) zechuto Yagen Aleynu

Shabbat Shalom,

Leah Goldsmith Itamar

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