The two Torah portions of Vaerah and Bo are connected with the 10 plagues. Vaerah brings the story of the first seven and Bo brings the last three.
The most important questions are why are there 10 plagues? Why did G-d harden Pharaoh\’s heart?
In this short article I will try to explain the amazing teaching the Torah gives us here. First remember that we just started the Book of Exodus and Jacob connected to Joseph to form the connection from the upper triangle of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Chessed, Gevurah, Tiferet) to Joseph (Yesod).
Think of this as the power outlet on the wall ready to channel the energy out. Joseph is the source or the positive (hot wire). Having that setting, the spiritual system is with great potential of manifestation.
The first verse of Vaera reveals the desire of the Light to show more of its forces in this world.
Exodus 6:2, 3 "God also said to Moses, "I am the LORD. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them."
"וַיְדַבֵּר אֱלֹקים, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה; וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו, אֲנִי יְקוָק."
"וָאֵרָא, אֶל-אַבְרָהָם אֶל-יִצְחָק וְאֶל-יַעֲקֹב–בְּאֵל שַׁדָּי; וּשְׁמִי יְקוָק, לֹא נוֹדַעְתִּי לָהֶם"
We see that G-d prepares Moshe for a greater revelation of light and asks him to prepare the people to connect to the new forced, (6:7)
וְלָקַחְתִּי אֶתְכֶם לִי לְעָם, וְהָיִיתִי לָכֶם לֵאלֹקים;
וִידַעְתֶּם, כִּי אֲנִי יְקוָק אֱלֹהֵיכֶם, הַמּוֹצִיא אֶתְכֶם, מִתַּחַת סִבְלוֹת מִצְרָיִם.
(6:7) I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.
G-d wanted to fulfill his promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the process had to start now. After Joseph established the channel of Yesod, the Light needed to flow to the world and like electrical system, the power needed consumers to keep the flow. G-d needed the people for that and in many ways they had no choice but to accept.
That is the reason for the command to Pharaoh "שַׁלַּח אֶת-עַמִּי, וְיַעַבְדֻנִי" (Let my people go, so that they may worship me)
The completion of the Vessel
Moshe and Aharon with their willingness to walk the way of G-d became the base of the lower triangle. Moshe as the level of Netzah and Aharon as Hod complete the five sefirot that makes the vessel for the light (Chessed, Gevurah, Tiferet, Netzach and Hod). Yesod (Joseph) is the funnel to continue the Light from the vessel to the world.
With the upper three sefirot of Keter, Chokmah and Binah we have the magic of eight that causes a greater revelation of the light and Zeir Anpin has a face name (יְקוָק).
The Holy Ari, reveals to us that Zeir Anpin was born (start its revelation in the world) and that is why G-d assigned Moshe of 80 years old for the mission to bring this light to the world. As I mentioned in the commentary to Shemot, Pharaoh was not aware of the spiritual force of יְקוָק. He couldn\’t accept any command from unknown G-d but since he was the head of the impure system and the desire for the self, the new revelation had to be the most negative place.
The Zohar teaches us, "A little light pushes away a lot of darkness". Pharaoh suffered because the Light chose to appear there, where the people of G-d were.
The ten plagues are the result of the revelation of the Light of Zeir Anpin. We see how each plague is connected to the level of the Light revealed.
1. Water to Blood – in the water (lower and basic element)
2. Frogs – Lower level creatures connecting water and land
3. Gnats – small and came upon men and animals.
4. Flies – in the air and spread fast everywhere, including people and houses.
5. Livestock Diseased – More significant plague that affect movement (horses, donkeys and camels) and food (cattle and sheep and goats).
6. Boils – caused by the hand of Moshe and spread from the sky throughout the land of Egypt.
7. Thunder and Hail – comes from the sky with deadly force.
8. Locusts – Comes from unknown source into the land of Egypt and devoured all that was left after the hail–everything growing in the fields and the fruit on the trees. Nothing green remained on tree or plant in all the land of Egypt.
9. Darkness – A paralyzing darkness on the physical and mind level.
10. Death of the Firstborn – The last and final hit. Disconnecting the negativity from its source.
We see how the strength of the plague is getting stronger as it continues. When the Light appears, darkness must go. This is why Pharaoh had no chance against the awesome light of Zeir Anpin. This light matured later with the revelation on Mount Sinai and the giving of the Torah.
Exodus 13:1 "The LORD said to Moses, 2 "Consecrate to me every first born male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether man or animal".
This is the cost of keeping the first born alive. G-d took them under his protection and in order to keep them we have to go through the process of "redemption of the first born". This is a process where the parents bring the child to the Cohen to pay him to keep their son with them. This process is done 40 days after the child is born and in simple calculation we find out that it is on the tenth day after the ten month from the planting of the seed. Remind you of something?
If you have a first born child or you are a first born, it is never too late to go through the process. Consult your Rabbi.
On a personal level we learn to be responsible to our actions. There is an automated cause and effect system and we are all must follow its laws. If we have a file with negative records we need to bring the light in and clear it. It may cause us some pain in the process but we will be free after that.
Many people that goes back to religion or spirituality, feels that effect and if they are not aware to the laws described above, they think that the system goes against them and if they gives up before paying the full payment.
In Isaiah 51:17 we read at the time before the final redemption "הִתְעוֹרְרִי הִתְעוֹרְרִי, קוּמִי יְרוּשָׁלִַם, אֲשֶׁר שָׁתִית מִיַּד יְקוָק, אֶת-כּוֹס חֲמָתוֹ; אֶת-קֻבַּעַת כּוֹס הַתַּרְעֵלָה, שָׁתִית–מָצִית"
Awake, awake! Rise up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the LORD the cup of his wrath, you who have drained to its dregs the goblet that makes men stagger.
The Hebrew words explain better that when we finish paying for our negativity (cleansing by the Light), we will wake up to (Isaiah 51:22) "כֹּה-אָמַר אֲדֹנַיִךְ יְקוָק, וֵאלֹהַיִךְ יָרִיב עַמּוֹ, הִנֵּה לָקַחְתִּי מִיָּדֵךְ, אֶת-כּוֹס הַתַּרְעֵלָה–אֶת-קֻבַּעַת כּוֹס חֲמָתִי, לֹא-תוֹסִיפִי לִשְׁתּוֹתָהּ עוֹד"
(Isaiah 51:22) "This is what your Sovereign LORD says, your God, who defends his people: "See, I have taken out of your hand the cup that made you stagger; from that cup, the goblet of my wrath, you will never drink again."
Let us pray for the day, hopefully today, to see G-d takes away from us all pain and suffering and reveal Mashiach, Amen.