God’s name on Seder Night

God’s name on Seder Night

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As we move through Seder night, we drink the four cups of wine and we relate to the elements on the Seder plate, we are not usually cognizant of the fact that both these central components of Seder night, actually represent the four-letter Name of God, YHVH

Pharaoh said, “Who is YHVH that I should listen to His voice? “

Actually, Pharaoh was cognizant of God acting through nature in the name of ELOKIM because that is how he acknowledged God to Joseph.   And even if we are talking about a different Pharaoh, one who did not know Joseph, nevertheless he would have heard of the story. But YHVH was unknown to Pharoah.

 It is when God makes himself known to the Children of Israel through the Name YHVH that the four expressions of redemption occur.

2. God spoke to Moses, and He said to him, “I am  YHVH 3. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob with [the name] El Shaddai [Almighty God],  but [with] My name YHVH, I did not become known to them. 4. And also, I established My covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their sojournings in which they sojourned. 5. And also, I heard the moans of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians are holding in bondage, and I remembered My covenant. 6. Therefore, say to the children of Israel, ‘I am YHVH, and I will take you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will save you from their labor, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. 7.  And I will take you to Me as a people, and I will be a God to you, and you will know that I am the Lord your God, Who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8. I will bring you to the land, concerning which I raised My hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, and I will give it to you as a heritage; I am YHVH.’ “

Exodus 6: 2-8

What is the significance of this new name? This name, YHVH, which we simply call HaShem, meaning the Name, is the name of God that is compassion, forgiveness, and mercy. Even though we, the Children of Israel had sunk down to the forty-ninth level of uncleanness, nevertheless, HaShem had mercy on us and took us out. Then, as He does now.

Just as we were exiled in the historical Egypt, we all suffer different aspects of exile wherein we are in exile from our inner selves. Connecting with the name of God, HaShem helps us put our trust in God, helps us forgive ourselves and others and helps trust that HaShem will release us from the bondage of our inner Pharoah, as indeed He does.

As we say on Seder night,

In every generation a person needs to feel as if he or she is taken out of Egypt.

Haggadah of Pesach

This podcast comes from an edited class given on the inner meanings of Seder night. It is dedicated to the ilui nishmat of Feiga bat Rivka z”l and Aharon and Sara Kotler z”l

It was redemption from Egypt then; it is redemption from our inner Egypt now

We are slaves to our own ego.And God redeems us from ourselves. Rabbi Ashlag

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.

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This podcast is dedicated for a perfect healing for Michael Andrew the son of Jennifer.

Taken from the Haggadah Zot LeYedudah with the Be’er Shalom of Rabbi Ashlag

Other podcasts for Pesach

The inner meaning of Seder night, the night of redemption

Who knows One?  From Exile to Redemption

The Four Cups of Wine: Their Inner Meaning

God keeps his promises: A talk for the last days of Pesach

Our inner Pharoah and our own redemption

Pharaoh is likened to a Nile crocodile.Zohar

Crocodylus niloticus in Lake Chamo 02″ by Bernard Gagnon

Each one of us is a whole world. Therefore in every person is a complex world of characters that make up the ego, and the one, pure, aspect of the soul.

Rabbi Ashlag teaches that all the aspects of the Torah stories take place within ourselves. Of all the aspects of the ego, the hardest one to deal with is the Pharaoh within us.  The Zohar, likens Pharaoh, the ultimate denier of God to a crocodile lurking in the Nile (following Ezekiel chapter 29).  Pharaoh manifests within us as the ultimate hijacker of our values and aspirations of spirituality, not allowing them to come into fruition.

From the Pesach Haggadah we find out that that the key to dealing with our inner Pharaoh is to cry out to God in prayer to help us, for it is the Holy Blessed One, Himself who rescues us from Pharaoh’s clutches and brings us out of our inner slavery into freedom.

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The merit of this Torah teaching  in this  podcast is dedicated to Michael Andrew, the son of Jennifer.  May he be blessed with a  Refuah Shlemah, a perfect healing.

Picture credit: “Crocodylus niloticus in Lake Chamo 02” by Bernard Gagnon

 

 

Yehudah, the teacher of prayer

Called to prayer from the teachings of Rabbi Baruch Ashlag

Called to Prayer

The Midrash states: “When Judah met Joseph, two Kings met.”

The story of the dramatic encounter between Yehudah and Yoseph, is one that reverberates in our hearts and prayers every single day. Yehudah (Judah) taught prayer, whereas Yoseph ( Joseph) represents bounty and redemption.

Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag teaches :

We need to believe before we pray that 1) the Divine hears our voice, whoever we may be. 2) that the Creator can help us 3) that He wants to help us.

Yet the fact that we even want to pray to God is a sign that the Creator is calling out to us. Calling to us to connect with Him and His call is in itself a redemption.

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Podcast inspired from the Zohar and the work Bircat Shalom, articles  by Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag

With grateful thanks to Mordecai (Yoel) Shoot whose questions sparked this study.

 

God kept faith: a learning for the last days of Pesach

Watching the Children of Israel coming out of Egypt ( Zohar)

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.

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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 .

Our inner enslavement / our inner redemption

Rabbi Ashlag teaching on inner salvery and redemption

” We were slaves in Egypt”
Passover Haggadah

The Torah is a document of divine revelation. This revelation is timeless and ever present. Both historically true, and true for each individual, here and now.

Pharaoh of old denied God asking, “who is God that I should listen to his voice”? A similar voice inside us puts God in second place, giving priority to the strident demands of the ego.
The effects of this voice of Pharaoh inside of us is to block the divine light flowing from our thoughts to our action thus effectively preventing us from bringing through the manifestation of God in our daily lives. Yet we do not always see this inner Pharaoh as our enemy, as he does not prevent us from making positive resolutions, only prevents us fro carrying them through so he allows us the comfortable illusion of imagining that we can have our cake and eat it.

We are told in the Torah, only God Himself can bring the children of Israel out of Egypt; only God himself can help us with our inner pharaoh.

The message of Moses is a message of prayer and faith. He taught the children of Israel the tools they would need for the redemption, the same tools we need today.

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Lesson adapted from a letter Rabbi Ashlag wrote to his pupils Parshat Shavua Shemot (Igarot HaSulam 12) 

With grateful thanks to my chevrutas, Dr. Shmuel Iger- Kinyan, Dr Susan Jackson, Pamela Mond, Yehudit Goldfarb  

Even Pharoah has a role in redemption

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.

Other Pesach talks on Nehora press are:

The inner meaning of Seder night

Who knows One? From exile to redemption

The inner meaning of the four cups