"I am G‑d, your G‑d." [Ex. 20:1]

As opposed to the name Havayah, the name Elokim undergoes declension: it accepts suffixes that make it mean "our G‑d," "your G‑d," etc. This is because in order for G‑d to "belong" to us, He must first constrict his self-revelation; this process of constriction (tzimtzum) is indicated by the name Elokim. The name Havayah, in contrast, refers to G‑d's essence, which can never be constricted. This verse thus means that the normally transcendent name Havayah will now become the immanent, operative power within every Jew.

Under other circumstances, infusing transcendent Divinity into a created being's normative consciousness would cause it to cease to exist. The intensity of the revelation would simply overload its capacities causing it to become instantly absorbed into the Divine energy flowing through it. The only reason this did not happen here is because the Jewish people accepted the Torah; studying the Torah and fulfilling its commandments enable us to withstand this transcendent Divine consciousness.

The fact that "G‑d is our G‑d," i.e., that his transcendent self becomes our "nature," enable us to overcome whatever obstacles the natural world poses to fulfilling our Divine tasks. In other words, we can "go out of Egypt" precisely because "G‑d is our G‑d."

Adapted from Torah Ohr 56d; Sefer HaMa'amarim 5627, p. 103; ibid. 5706-07, p. 213
© 2001 Chabad of California/www.LAchumash.org