THEMES of Featured Zohar Articles

Dividing the Night
Even from a merciful perspective, the Egyptians deserved punishment.
"Halfway though the night, G-d smote all the firstborn"

The Zohar teaches that malchut dominates the first half of the night, whereas compassion dominates the second half of the night. Nonetheless, the same aspect that smote the Egyptians rescued the Israelites.

The judgment only began at midnight, not earlier, for the Egyptians were deserving of death not only from the point of view of strict justice, but even from the point of view of compassion.
Great Crocodile of the Nile
Pharaoh represented the source of all spiritual impurity
The Zohar comments that the verse in this week's Torah reading says: "Come to Pharaoh" instead of "Go to Pharaoh" because G-d took Moses with Him to rooms within rooms through different levels of external forces until they reached a supernal mighty Crocodile - Pharaoh himself. The Holy Blessed One Himself waged war with him, and no other.
Displaying Freedom
Based on Zohar Shemot 40A
Israel did not leave Egypt until the dominion of all Egypt's ministers in the spiritual realm above was broken. Then Israel left their domain, came under the authority of the Holiness above of G-d, and were bound only to Him.
Signs Inside and Out
Revealed actions on our part generate revealed responses from the Creator.
In their exile, the Israelites had sunk to the forty-ninth gate of spiritual impurity; there was very little difference between them and the Egyptians. Accordingly, G-d gave them two commandments, the blood of the Paschal lamb and the blood of circumcision, in order that they merit redemption by fulfilling them.
We must allow the accusing forces their just due - but no more.
The Zohar teaches that sometimes the forces of spiritual darkness must be "bribed", or given an incentive to leave the realms of holiness alone. An example of this is the offerings involved in the commandment to sanctify the New Moon, iterated in this week's Torah reading. The Satan, who only accuses according to the rules of strict justice, sometimes has a legitimate claim, such as demanding compensation for Abraham's removal of Isaac from the altar. In this case, the result was that the accusing forces were allowed to judge Job, a distant relative of Abraham. Fortunately, by advising Pharaoh to oppress the Israelites in Egypt rather than slay them, Job chose the path of mercy and was thusly treated favorably in the Heavenly court, measure for measure.

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