Finally, after the plague of the first-born, Pharaoh sends the Jews out of Egypt in the dead of night. We see later that once the Jews are in the desert, G‑d carries them "on the wings of eagles" and does other miracles to shorten their path. But here in the Exodus itself, we find that they are obligated to walk night and day in order to escape. Why?

Shem miShmuel answers that day and night represent two different aspects of serving G‑d. The day stands for a clear understanding of what we have to do – we know which path to take and why. But, there are times in life when we don't know at all which path to take, nor do we sense where we are going. We are stumbling, trying to find our way through the darkness. At such times, when we don't have our own internal compass to guide us, we have to proceed on faith alone, knowing that G‑d is guarding us from going astray. This kind of spiritual service is called "night." all situations – even those which we don't understand – we must rely on G‑d.

And that is why the Torah tells us that the Jews had to walk both "day and night," in order to teach us that in all situations – even those which we don't understand – we must rely on G‑d.

Shem miShmuel also points out that when the Torah describes the night journey out of Egypt, it refers to both Moses and his brother Aaron. However, when it comes to crossing the Red Sea, the Torah mentions only Moses.

Why does the Torah leave out Aaron (who certainly crossed with the Jews and played a leadership role)? And why does it divide the exodus into two episodes – first the leaving of Egypt and then the crossing of the sea?

In answering these questions, Shem miShmuel refers to an earlier Torah relationship – that of Joseph and his brothers. According to Shem miShmuel, Joseph represented the mind, and his brothers represented the heart. Joseph's service of G‑d was an intellectual/meditative approach, while that of his brothers was an emotional/expressive approach. Since the heart and emotions must always be subservient to the mind and intellect, Joseph dreamt of his brothers bowing down to him.

A similar relationship, says Shem miShmuel, existed between Moses and Aaron. Moses was the mind, and Aaron was the heart. Aaron was known to "love peace, pursue peace, love his fellow men, and bring them closer to Torah." But, it was Moses who communicated with G‑d, decided what to say to Pharaoh, and made leadership decisions. It was Moses who would ultimately bring the Torah to the Jews, from Above to below, while Aaron would inspire the Jews by lighting the candles of the Menorah in the Tabernacle, lifting them up from below to Above.

The slavery in Egypt was a slavery of both heart and mind.

And that's why, says Shem miShmuel, both Moses and Aaron are mentioned regarding leaving Egypt. The slavery in Egypt was a slavery of both heart and mind. The slavery of the heart was meant to rectify the sin of illicit relations (transgressions of the heart). The slavery of the mind (when Pharaoh's oppressive decrees left the Jews no time to think) was intended to rectify the transgressions of idol worship (a transgression of the intellect).

The exodus from Egypt – at midnight after the plague of the first-born—began when the emotional rectification of the Jews was complete. Both Moses and Aaron were mentioned regarding the exodus, since both the heart (Aaron) and the mind (Moses) were involved. However, the crossing of the sea took place, only as the intellectual transgression of the Jews (idol worship) met its rectification. This required the involvement of Moses, because the Jews had fallen so deeply into a state of spiritual impurity that they could not emerge of their own volition – they needed Moses to lead them out. It was only Moses (not Aaron) who could provide this level of intellectual leadership. It was only Moses who could instill in them the necessary faith to overcome their devotion to idols, and thereby lead them across the Red Sea. That's why, unlike during the initial steps out of Egypt when Aaron was also mentioned, only Moses is mentioned when it comes to the crossing of the Red Sea.

From here we learn the importance of cleaving to the leaders/rabbis of our generation.

From here we learn the importance of cleaving to the leaders/rabbis of our generation. There is only so much that we can do ourselves – our yetzer hara (evil inclination) mires us in our own limitations (our own Egypt). We need the intellectual inspiration of the leaders of our generation to pull us out of the emotional and intellectual morass in which we find ourselves.

May we merit to see the ultimate leader revealed in front of our own eyes, the Mashiach leading all the Jews to the Holy Land and building the Holy Temple very soon!

[From "Inner Lights from Jerusalem" based on the Shem miShmuel and other Chassidic and Kabalistic Sources, translated and presented by Rabbi David Sterne]