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B"H

  Shalom and Bracha!

  This Shabbat we read the portion of Bo, during which the Jewish people left Egypt. The Exodus from Egypt was a precursor for the coming of Moshiach. As we study and relive the Exodus, our yearning for Moshiach is heightened. The Baal Shem Tov taught that one of the ways to hasten the coming of Moshiach is the study of Pnimiut Hatorah, the inner face of Torah. This week we will attempt to delve into deeper aspects of the week's Torah portion.

  The ten plagues parallel the ten Sefirot, the ten Divine emanations by which Hashem creates the world. The Sefirot are divided into two types, three intellectual and seven emotional. Evil also has ten Sefirot of impurity through which it exists. The ten plagues broke the ten negative forces of Egypt and prepared for the revelation of the Ten Commandments. Last week we read of the first seven plagues, which parallel the emotions. This week we read the final three, which parallel the intellect. The three faculties of the intellect are Chochmah, Binah, and Da'at (the abbreviations of the three together form ChaBaD). The plagues were in an ascending order.

  The first plague in this week's portion was locusts, which paralleled Da'at. Da'at, translated as knowledge, is the faculty by which we connect the intellect and the emotions. It is possible to understand something well on an intellectual level with no effect on our emotional traits or actions. We often come to the full intellectual resolve that we should adopt good practices or reject bad habits but it doesn’t happen. Think for a moment how many of us smoke or drive without seatbelts, knowing full well the dangers involved. This is because the resolve remains in the intellect, and has not reached Da’at. Da'at is attained through repeatedly meditating upon and applying the conclusions of our thoughts until they become second nature. The Talmud states that a child only develops Da'at when he eats grain. The locusts, which destroyed the grain, were the antithesis of Da'at. In our service of Hashem, Da’at is constantly attuning our emotions by meditating on the greatness of Hashem and how each Mitzvah creates a bind with His infinite light until this becomes our ingrained perception. Da’at is learning to see Hashem’s hand in everything that happens and react accordingly.

  Binah means understanding. When an idea first falls into our head, we don't fully grasp it. When we carefully consider the idea, analyzing how it answers numerous questions and sheds light in other areas, this is the power of Binah. When we fully understand something, it illuminates our awareness. Darkness and confusion are the opposite of Binah. Thus, the ninth plague was darkness. In our service of Hashem Binah means to study each concept we learn in Torah until it illuminates our minds and hearts, seeking the lesson and meaning of every story and every nuance in the Torah.

  Chochmah (wisdom) is the first Sefirah. In intellect, it represents the first awakening of a new idea. As a trait, it represents the nullification to that which is higher. The Hebrew word Chochmah is a composite of the two words Koach and Mah, which means the power of nullification. Because of its humility, Chochmah is able to be the channel of all life. The first born of Egypt were the antithesis of Chochmah and of the life that Chochmah represents. Therefore the plague connected to Chochmah was the smiting of the first-born. In service of Hashem this is expressed by thinking of Hashem first and thereafter of our needs. This is fortified by several Mitzvot: Challah we give the first dough to the Kohen; when the Temple stood the first fruits were brought to the Temple; Modeh Ani should be our first words when we awake; we begin our day with prayers before eating or going to work.

  At the conclusion of the portion, two Mitzvot are mentioned which parallel these ideas. The Mitzvah of Tefillin is mention twice. Tefillin are worn on the head and opposite the heart, which represents the subjugation of the mind and heart to the service of Hashem. This is the epitome of Da’at, combining the mind and heart in the service of Hashem. The Mitzvah of sanctifying the first-born is discussed, which corresponds to Chochmah.

  Just as in the portion we merited the conclusion of the redemption from Egypt, may we merit to be united this Shabbat in the celebration of the final redemption with the coming of Moshiach!

  Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Biggs

Dedicated in memory of Shmuel Ben Yitzchok Halevi (Siggi) Wilzig on the occasion of his Yohrtzeit. May his soul be bound in the bond of eternal life with Hashem

A Project of Chabad of Great Neck

400 East Shore Rd. Great Neck NY 11024

516 4874554       fax 516 4874807

If you wish to be removed from this list please contact me at rabbibiggs@gmail.com


 
   
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