Before the Pesach holiday begins we are busy clearing out the chametz, the leaven from our houses. The Zohar informs us that this leaven represents the yezer hara, our egoism, within us. This process is not one of sadness but one of joy, as it gives us an opportunity to come to our true freedom, a freedom from being bound by our own egoism. A Freedom from being saddened by circumstances we can’t change, or from disappointments in not receiving what we thought we should, and the particular anxiety that goes with that.
But coming into redemption, is coming into our truest freedom which is of giving unconditionally. Nothing and no-one can enslave us there.
The whole process of our inner redemption is depicted in our preparations for the Pesach holiday and in the story of the Children of Israel’s redemption from Egypt as set out in the Haggadah. As we recite the story of our redemption of then we can pray to God and feel the joy of our redemption of now in an exactly parallel process.
Watching the Children of Israel coming out of Egypt
Jacob our father felt fearful on the eve of coming down to Egypt. God appeared to him in a dream and reassured him, promising that He Himself would accompany the children of Israel in their exile. The Scripture further states that God says “I will surely bring you up”. The Zohar interprets this saying, with a beautiful imagery of our forefathers being brought to witness the redemption itself. Indeed in the Haggadah, we say “Blessed is He who keeps his promise to Israel.”
The Zohar that we learn here, teaches us that faith in God’s promise played a crucial role in the redemption itself. Pharaoh hardened his heart against God because in the natural way of things there was no way for the Children of Israel to escape his land. But faith is of a higher paradigm than that of the material world, and God overcame the evil of Pharaoh. The Scripture concludes on the shores of the Red Sea “And Israel saw the great hand which the Lord wrought against the Egyptians, and the people believed in God and in Moses his servant.”
This piece of Zohar is as timely now as it was then, and teaches us that God’s promises to our forefathers will surely be redeemed.
In this podcast we study the text of the Zohar Beshalach, paragraph 185 in the Perush HaSulam with grateful thanks to my chevrutas Dr Susan Jackson, Dahlia Orlev, Timna Segal, Leah Weinstein, Ofra Perl, Jodie Lebowitz Davis, and Mia Sherwood with whom I had the privilege of learning this article .
Seder night : the night of inner and outer freedom
The Haggadah of Pesach teaches us that every person needs to consider himself or herself as if he came out of Egypt. Rabbi Yehudah Lev Ashlag teaches that the essence of the exile and the redemption are both historical events and inner events within our consciousness. Our inner exile is caused by those parts of us that oppose our connection with God and make it hard for us to express ourselves in the framework of holiness in consonance with our souls. The hardest of all aspects of the ego is the Pharaoh within.
In this class based on an oral discourse that the Baal HaSulam gave to his students, he teaches us why the exile, both outer and inner, is necessary and the role that even our inner Pharaoh has to play to bring us to the full redemption of dvekut (union) with God.
This class is a translation and explanation of a an oral discourse given by the Baal haSulam transcribed by Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag in his work, Shamati. (Arie Miskanot le Paroh) (1 hour)
My grateful thanks to the many chevrutas who learned this article with me this year.
Teaching our children about how we came out of Egypt
Listen to podcast (ten minutes)
Rabbi Ashlag teaches that the difference between the human and the animal is really only the desire for the connection with God. When we lose our connection with the One that is a state of inner exile; redemption is a reconnection. By looking at the story of the coming out of Egypt and seeing its equivalent aspects within ourselves we come to see how we can ourselves ask to come out of our own inner Egypt.
Join Yedidah with two stimulating talks relating to the forthcoming festival of Pesach: Discover the inner meaning of the four cups of wine we drink and find out why the redemption had to be prefaced by the exile. It all boils down to the One…Find both talks on her homepage at www.nehorapress.com
( each talk ten minutes )
Rabbi Yossi said: These four cups of this night, why do we drink them? …..Learn from the Zohar and understand the inner meaning of the four cups of wine that we drink during the Seder night.
For talk click (9 mnutes)