The whole book of Exodus, particularly the first five weekly readings, is about redemption. Moses and Aaron are the leaders setting the example of how we are to imbue ourselves with redemption and express it with our every move.

Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the Alter Rebbe of Chabad, in Likutei Torah deals with the question in this week's Torah reading: 'Why do we find that the verses sometimes say, "Aaron and Moses"(Ex. 6:26) and sometimes, "Moses and Aaron"?(ibid. 6:27) Moses was the greatest prophet of all time, the one person who spoke face to face with G‑d. Therefore, in the broadest spiritual terms Moses embodies Torah study. Torah is G‑d's will and wisdom that descends to this world from above, telling us how to make the world a G‑dly place. Torah study places us face to face with G‑d, drawing divine energy from above to below.

Moses represents a level of connecting to G‑d that requires us to move beyond our intellect….

On a different level, the Alter Rebbe's grandson and third Chabad Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzedek, writes that in the eternal drama played out in the Torah verses Moses represents a level of connecting to G‑d that requires us to move beyond our intellect, such as imposing the Torah view on reality. Aaron, on the other hand, stands for connecting to G‑d through the intellect, just like prayer uses the world as its base.

Similarly, the term "Jewish People" hints to the divine inclination (the G‑dly soul) within us. The mention of "Pharaoh" refers to the physical inclination (the animal soul) within us. Verse 26 speaks about taking the Jewish people out of Egypt - so there, Aaron precedes Moses. Conversely, when the verse (27) mentions Pharaoh, Moses is first.

This is so because when we have an issue with our divine soul, when we want to give it a nudge and move it out of its malaise, it is enough to sit down and have a good think - to use the level of Aaron, intellectual arguments, like "If not now, then when?" On the other hand, when it is our animal soul that is problematic, when we are just a bit too attached to the world, we need to connect to a level higher than the intellect if we want to experience the redemption. This is why Moses is mentioned first. Torah study or prayer, intellect or higher than intellect, divine soul or animal soul, we want the true and final redemption now.

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

Copyright 2003 by All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work or portions thereof, in any form, unless with permission, in writing, from Kabbala Online.