Welcome to Haggadot.com (the "Site"). Haggadot.com, customandcraft.org, [email protected] and all future,
as-yet-to-be-created brands are projects of Custom & Craft Jewish Rituals, Inc., which is the legal name of this
California nonprofit organization (hereinafter referred to as “Haggadot.com”). All projects of Custom & Craft Jewish
Rituals are subject to the Terms of Service described below. This Terms of Service ("TOS") contain the terms and
conditions that govern your use of the Site, and the Haggadot.com Service (as defined below). This TOS describes your
rights and responsibilities and what you can expect from the Haggadot.com Service. Use of the Site constitutes your
acceptance of and agreement to this TOS.
Haggadot.com reserves the right to add, delete, and/or modify any of the terms and conditions contained in this TOS, at any time and in its sole discretion, by posting a change notice or a new agreement on the Haggadot.com Site. In the event of substantive changes to this TOS, you may be notified by email. If any modification is unacceptable to you, your only recourse is to not use the Site and the Haggadot.com Service. Your continued use of the Haggadot.com Site following posting of a change notice or new TOS on the Haggadot.com Site will constitute binding acceptance of the changes.
The Haggadot.com Service.
Haggadot.com provides a number of Internet-based services through the Site as well as any other Haggadot.com affiliate websites, digital content, mobile applications, online service or anywhere the TOS are shown (all such services, collectively, the "Haggadot.com Service"). One such service enables users to create customized products, including without limitation, merchandise and books (collectively, "Products"). Haggadot.com users may create and purchase individual Products for their own personal use. Haggadot.com may offer a number of other services on its Site, including without limitation, message boards, contests, and newsletters, which may change from time to time.
Use of the Web Site and Haggadot.com Service.
Eligibility. Haggadot.com will only knowingly provide the Haggadot.com Service to parties that can lawfully enter into and form contracts under applicable law. If you are under the age of 18, but at least 13 years of age, you may use the Haggadot.com Service only under the supervision of a parent or legal guardian who agrees to be bound by this TOS. The Haggadot.com Service is not intended for children under the age of 13.
Compliance with TOS and Applicable Law. You must comply with all of the terms and conditions of this TOS, the applicable agreements and policies referred to below, and all applicable laws, regulations and rules when you use the Haggadot.com Service and the Site.
Your License to Use the Web Site and the Haggadot.com Service.
Haggadot.com solely and exclusively owns all intellectual property and other rights, title and interest in and to the Haggadot.com Service and Site, except as expressly provided for in these TOS. For example and without limitation, Haggadot.com owns the copyrights in and to the Site, and certain technology used in providing the Haggadot.com Service. You will not acquire any right, title or interest therein under this TOS or otherwise to any intellectual property owned by Haggadot.com.
Haggadot.com grants you a limited revocable license to access and use the Site and the Haggadot.com Service for your own personal purposes, subject to your compliance with this TOS. This license does not include the right to collect or use information contained on the Site for purposes prohibited by Haggadot.com; to compete with Haggadot.com; to create derivative works based on the content of the Site; or download or copy the Site (other than page caching). If you use the Site in a manner that exceeds the scope of this license or you breach this TOS, Haggadot.com may revoke the license granted to you.
This Section 2.3 does not pertain to your intellectual property rights. For information regarding your intellectual property rights, please see Section 4.
Third-Party Content: Wherever Haggadot.com websites, online services, and digital content make reference to third party organizations or include information, content, or graphics from third parties, Haggadot.com assumes third-party content is for general informational purposes only and displaying third-party content does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement of the opinion, product or service. Haggadot.com makes no claim as to the accuracy or relevance of third-party content. If you decide to access any other websites linked to or from this website, you do so entirely at your own risk.
Prohibited Use. You may only use the Haggadot.com Service as expressly permitted by Haggadot.com. You may not cause harm to the Site or the Haggadot.com Service. Specifically, but not by way of limitation, you may not: (i) interfere with the Haggadot.com Service by using viruses or any other programs or technology designed to disrupt or damage any software or hardware; (ii) modify, create derivative works from, reverse engineer, decompile or disassemble any technology used to provide the Haggadot.com Service; (iii) use a robot, spider or other device or process to monitor the activity on or copy pages from the Site, except in the operation or use of an internet "search engine," hit counters or similar technology; (iv) collect electronic mail addresses or other information from third parties by using the Haggadot.com Service; (v) impersonate another person or entity; (vi) use any meta tags, search terms, key terms, or the like that contain Haggadot.com's name or trademarks; (vii) engage in spamming or any activity that interferes with another user's ability to use or enjoy the Haggadot.com Service; (viii) assist or encourage any third party in engaging in any activity prohibited by this TOS; (ix) upload to, transmit through, or display any material that is unlawful, fraudulent, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, or otherwise objectionable or that infringes any third party’s intellectual property rights or any confidential, proprietary, or trade secret information of any third party; (x) upload, transmit, or display any advertisements, solicitations, chain letters, pyramid schemes, investment opportunities, or other unsolicited commercial communications (unless expressly permitted); (xi) display adult nudity or inappropriate child nudity; (xii) use the Site for sale of goods or services; or (xiii) upload photographs or other content depicting images or people who have not given permission to have their photographs or images uploaded to a share site.
Password Security. You are solely responsible for protecting the security and confidentiality of the password and identification assigned to you. You shall immediately notify us of any unauthorized use of your password or identification or any other breach or threatened breach of this website’s security.
Ordering Policies. If you purchase Products, you agree to do so in accordance with Haggadot.com's ordering policies and instructions on the Site. Your order constitutes an obligation to pay, subject to acceptance by Haggadot.com at our sole discretion. Your order is accepted by us when we ship the goods to you. An order confirmation does not signify our acceptance of your order, but merely confirms receipt of your order. We will send you a shipment confirmation once your order is accepted. Haggadot.com reserves the right to cancel any order prior to delivery at our sole and absolute discretion, whether or not you have already been charged. If your order is canceled pursuant to this section, and you have already been charged, Haggadot.com will automatically issue a refund to you. As the products are individually produced, an approximate availability and delivery time are shown alongside the product description prior to order completion. The products will be delivered as soon as they are available. The times are estimates only and cannot be guaranteed. At the latest, delivery will occur within thirty (30) days from acceptance of your order by Haggadot.com. Please note that Haggadot.com is not able to deliver to all regions worldwide. All prices are subject to the delivery charges, as well as any applicable taxes, duties, fees, or levies. Haggadot.com reserves the right to change the prices published on the Services at any time. However, orders already submitted to us will not be affected by such changes. Title to the Products you purchase passes to you when the Products are delivered to the common carrier.
Create and Buy General Rules and License.
Description. As part of the Haggadot.com Service, Haggadot.com offers a service (the "Create & Buy Service") that allows you to upload images, video, audio, data, and other content as well as text, files, and works of authorship (collectively, "Content") to the Site to create, produce, and purchase Products featuring the uploaded Content for your own use. “Content” also includes without limitation, any Content that you contribute or share with other members through the Site.
Delivery of Content. You will upload or deliver to Haggadot.com all Content that you want to use with the Create & Buy Service in accordance with the applicable instructions on the Site. Haggadot.com may, in its sole and exclusive discretion, determine whether any Content complies with such instructions and is satisfactory for use with the Create & Buy Service.
Ownership of your Content. You represent and warrant that you own or otherwise possess all necessary rights with respect to the Content and that the Content does not and will not infringe, misappropriate, use, or disclose without authorization or otherwise violate any copyright, trademark, trade secret right, or other intellectual property or other property right of any third party.
Use of Likeness. You consent to the use of your likeness, and you have obtained the written consent, release, and/or permission of every identifiable individual who appears in the Content to use such individual’s likeness, for purposes of using and otherwise exploiting the Content in the manner contemplated by these TOS. If any such identifiable individual is under the age of eighteen (18), you have obtained such written consent, release, and/or permission from such individual’s parent or guardian. You agree to provide a copy of any such consents, releases, and/or permissions upon our request.
Licensing Your Content to Haggadot.com. You will retain ownership of the Content that you upload to the Site. You hereby grant to Haggadot.com a perpetual, irrevocable, fully-paid and royalty-free, worldwide, transferable, nonexclusive, sublicensable (through multiple tiers) right and license to: (i) use such Content, in all media existing now or created in the future, as Haggadot.com deems necessary to enable you to use the Create & Buy Service to create, produce, and purchase Products; (ii) with respect to any Content that you expressly designate as being “public,” to link to, use, reproduce, create derivative works from, license, sublicense, distribute, print, publicly display, and otherwise utilize your Content including, without limitation, making your Content available to the Haggadot.com community. Please note that, while you retain ownership of your Content, any template or layout in which you arrange or organize your Content through tools and features made available through the Site or the Haggadot.com Service are not proprietary to you, and the rights to such template or layout are reserved to Haggadot.com.
Licensing Your Content to other Haggadot.com Members. Except for any of your Content that you specify as “private” during the submission process, you also hereby grant all other members of the Haggadot.com community a non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable license to use, copy, publicly display, create derivative works from, and otherwise communicate and distribute your Content for any purpose on or through the Site or the Haggadot.com Service and/or in the Haggadot.com member’s own products. You acknowledge and agree that any such Haggadot.com member can exercise the foregoing rights without further notice, payment, or attribution to you. For avoidance of doubt, any of your Content that you designate as “public” will not be limited to any restricted purpose and is provided on a non-proprietary and non-confidential basis and will be generally accessible by other users of the Site and Haggadot.com Service.
Reservation of Rights.
Monitoring. Haggadot.com reserves the right, but does not assume the obligation, to monitor transactions and communications that occur through the Site. If Haggadot.com determines, in its sole and absolute discretion, that you or another Haggadot.com user will breach a term or condition of this TOS or that such transaction or communication is inappropriate, Haggadot.com may cancel such transaction or take any other action to restrict access to or the availability of any material that may be considered objectionable, without any liability to you or any third party.
Modification of the Service. Haggadot.com reserves the right to modify the organization, structure or "look and feel" of the Haggadot.com Service or the Site, and may change, suspend, or discontinue any aspect of the Haggadot.com Service at any time without any liability to you or any third party. Haggadot.com shall have complete discretion over the features, functions, prices and other terms and conditions on which the Haggadot.com Service is offered to Haggadot.com users.
You shall not upload, distribute, or otherwise publish through this website any content, information, or other material that (a) violates or infringes the copyrights, patents, trademarks, trade secrets, or other proprietary rights of any person; (b) is libelous, threatening, defamatory, obscene, indecent, pornographic, or could give rise to any civil or criminal liability under U.S. or international law; or (c) includes any bugs, viruses, worms, trap doors, Trojan horses or other harmful code or properties.
Haggadot.com reserves the right to immediately remove any content it deems offensive, or in violation of these Terms and Conditions. Haggadot.com also reserves the right to remove a user account, without notice, if the user has been found to pose a threat to other users or has violated any rule laid out in the Terms and Conditions.
Copyright and Trademark Issues
While we are not obligated to review Content for copyright or trademark infringement, we are committed to protecting copyrights and trademarks and expect users of our Site and Haggadot.com Services to do the same. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (the “DMCA”) provides recourse for copyright owners who believe that material appearing on the internet infringes their rights under U.S. copyright law. If you believe in good faith that any material used or displayed on or through our Site or the Haggadot.com Services infringes your copyright, you (or your agent) may send us a notice requesting that the material be removed, or access to it blocked. The notice must include the following information:
a physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed; identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed (or, if multiple copyrighted works are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works); identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or the subject of infringing activity, and information reasonably sufficient to allow us to locate the material on our Site and/or the Haggadot.com Services; the name, address, telephone number and email address (if available) of the complaining party; a statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law; and a statement that the information in the notification is accurate and, under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
If you believe in good faith that a notice of copyright infringement has been wrongly filed against you, the DMCA permits you to send us a counter-notice. Notices and counter-notices must meet the then-current statutory requirements imposed by the DMCA; see http://www.copyright.gov for details. DMCA notices and counter-notices regarding our Site and the Haggadot.com Services, or notices concerning trademark use in personalized products we make or in our Site and the Haggadot.com Services, should be sent to:
Haggadot.com PO Box 385 Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 [email protected]
Upon receipt of a compliant DMCA Takedown Notice, Haggadot.com will investigate the claim, take appropriate action and serve the notice on our member. If a member submits a DMCA Counter-Notice, Haggadot.com will forward such notice to the party that submitted the relevant DMCA Takedown Notice and allow the member to repost the disputed content after 10 days, as provided by law. Haggadot.com reserves the right to terminate the account of any member who repeatedly infringes the copyright rights of others, as determined in Haggadot.com’s sole discretion.
Representations and Warranties.
Mutual Representations and Warranties. You represent and warrant to Haggadot.com and Haggadot.com represents and warrants to you: (i) that you or it has the full power and authority to enter into and perform under this TOS, (ii) the execution and performance of your or its obligations under this TOS does not constitute a breach of or conflict with any other agreement or arrangement by which you or it is bound, and (iii) this TOS is a legal, valid and binding obligation of the party entering into this TOS, enforceable in accordance with its terms and conditions.
By You. In addition to any other representations and warranties contained in this Agreement, You represent and warrant to Haggadot.com that, in your use of the Haggadot.com Service, you: (i) will not infringe the copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret, right of privacy, right of publicity or other legal right of any third party, and (ii) will comply with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations. You further represent and warrant to Haggadot.com that: (i) there are no claims, demands or any form of litigation pending, or to the best of your knowledge, threatened with respect to any of your Content; (ii) Haggadot.com will not be required to make any payments to any third party in connection with its use of your Content, except for the expenses that Haggadot.com incurs in providing the Haggadot.com Service; (iii) the use of any instructions, formulae, recommendations, or the like contained in your Content will not cause injury to any third party; and (iv) your Content does not contain viruses or any other programs or technology designed to disrupt or damage any software or hardware.
Disclaimers and Exclusions.
DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES. Haggadot.com PROVIDES THE SITE AND Haggadot.com SERVICE ON AN "AS IS" AND "AS AVAILABLE" BASIS. Haggadot.com DOES NOT REPRESENT OR WARRANT THAT THE SITE, Haggadot.com SERVICE OR ITS USE: (i) WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED, (ii) WILL BE FREE OF INACCURACIES OR ERRORS, (iii) WILL MEET YOUR REQUIREMENTS, OR (iv) WILL OPERATE IN THE CONFIGURATION OR WITH THE HARDWARE OR SOFTWARE YOU USE. Haggadot.com MAKES NO WARRANTIES OTHER THAN THOSE MADE EXPRESSLY IN THESE TOS, AND HEREBY DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF TITLE, ACCURACY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, MERCHANTABILITY, NON-INFRINGEMENT AND ANY WARRANTIES THAT MAY ARISE FROM A COURSE OF DEALING, COURSE OF PERFORMANCE, OR USAGE OF TRADE.
Limitation of Liability.
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMISSIBLE BY APPLICABLE LAW, NEITHER Haggadot.com, NOR ANY OF ITS DIRECTORS, OFFICERS, SHAREHOLDERS, EMPLOYEES, CONTRACTORS, AGENTS, REPRESENTATIVES, OR AFFILIATES (COLLECTIVELY, “THE HAGGADOT PARTIES”) SHALL BE LIABLE FOR ANY CONSEQUENTIAL, INCIDENTAL, INDIRECT, PUNITIVE OR SPECIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION DAMAGES RELATING TO LOSS OF BUSINESS, LOST PROFITS, LOST DATA, USE, OR LOSS OF GOODWILL) ARISING OUT OF, RELATING TO OR CONNECTED WITH THE USE OF THE Haggadot.com SERVICE OR THIS TOS, BASED ON ANY CAUSE OF ACTION, OR FROM UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS TO OR ALTERATION OF YOUR CONTENT OR DATA, EVEN IF A REMEDY SET FORTH HEREIN IS FOUND TO HAVE FAILED ITS ESSENTIAL PURPOSE AND EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. FURTHERMORE, THE HAGGADOT PARTIES WILL HAVE NO LIABILITY TO YOU OR TO ANY THIRD PARTY FOR ANY CONTENT UPLOADED. YOUR SOLE AND EXCLUSIVE REMEDY FOR DISSATISFACTION WITH THE SITE OR THE Haggadot.com SERVICE IS TO STOP USING THE SERVICES. TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMISSIBLE BY APPLICABLE LAW, THE MAXIMUM LIABILITY OF THE HAGGADOT PARTIES SHALL BE THE ACTUAL PRICE PAID THEREFORE BY YOU. NOTE: CERTAIN JURISDICTIONS MAY NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OR LIMITATION OF INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL OR CERTAIN OTHER TYPES OF DAMAGES, SO SOME OF THE ABOVE EXCLUSIONS OR LIMITATIONS MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.
Term and Termination.
Term. This TOS shall remain in full force and effect while you use the Site and Services.
Termination. In its sole discretion, with or without notice to you, Haggadot.com may: (i) suspend, limit your access to or terminate your use of the Site and/or the Haggadot.com Service; (ii) suspend, limit your access to or terminate your account; (iii) remove any of your Content from Haggadot.com's servers and directories; and (iv) prohibit you from using the Haggadot.com Service and/or the Site. Upon termination for any reason, your right to access and/or use the Site and/or the Haggadot.com Service will immediately cease.
Survival. Notwithstanding Section 12.2 above, this TOS will survive indefinitely unless and until Haggadot.com chooses to terminate this TOS.
Effect of Termination. If you or Haggadot.com terminates your use of the Site or the Haggadot.com Service, Haggadot.com may delete any Content or other materials relating to your use of the Haggadot.com Service on Haggadot.com's servers or otherwise in its possession. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you understand that any Content you expressly designated as being “Public” and that Haggadot.com or other users of the Site made available in other areas of the Site other than your user profile (including, without limitation, in another user’s library) may not be deleted. Haggadot.com will have no liability to you or any third party for any termination of your use of the Site or Service or for any deletion of your Content or for any Content that was not deleted that remains on the Site.
All notices required or permitted to be given under these TOS (other than in connection with Section 7) will be in writing and delivered to the other party by any of the following methods: (i) U.S. mail, (ii) overnight courier, or (iii) electronic mail. If you give notice to Haggadot.com, you must use the following addresses: 19 Worth St., Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 [email protected] & [email protected]. If Haggadot.com provides notice to you, Haggadot.com will use the contact information provided by you to Haggadot.com. All notices will be deemed received as follows: (i) if by delivery by U.S. mail, seven (7) business days after dispatch, (ii) if by overnight courier, on the date receipt is confirmed by such courier service, or (iii) if by electronic mail, 24 hours after the message was sent, if no "system error" or other notice of non-delivery is generated. If applicable law requires that a given communication be "in writing," you agree that email communication will satisfy this requirement.
All disputes arising out of, relating to or connected with these TOS or your use of any part of the Haggadot.com Service will be exclusively resolved under confidential binding arbitration held in California, before and in accordance with the Rules of the American Arbitration Association, by a sole arbitrator applying California law (without regard for conflicts of law principles). The arbitrator's award will be binding and may be entered as a judgment in any court of competent jurisdiction. Any action to enforce an arbitrator's award will be brought in a federal or state court located in California. Each party hereby irrevocably submits to the personal jurisdiction of the Federal and California State courts. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Section Can 14, Haggadot.com may seek equitable relief, including, without limitation, injunctive relief and specific performance, without the requirement of posting a bond or other security or proving money damages are insufficient, from a court of competent jurisdiction.
These TOS will be binding upon each party hereto and its successors and permitted assigns, and governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of California without reference to conflict of law principles. This TOS is not assignable or transferable by you without the prior written consent of Haggadot.com. This TOS (including all of the policies and other Agreements described in this TOS, which are incorporated herein by this reference) contain the entire understanding of the parties regarding its subject matter, and supersedes all prior and contemporaneous agreements and understandings between the parties regarding its subject matter. No failure or delay by a party in exercising any right, power or privilege under this TOS will operate as a waiver thereof, nor will any single or partial exercise of any right, power or privilege preclude any other or further exercise thereof or the exercise of any other such right, power, or privilege. You and Haggadot.com are independent contractors, and no agency, partnership, joint venture, or employee-employer relationship is intended or created by this TOS.
A traveler once was stopped by a highway robber who demanded his moneybag at gunpoint. “I’ll give you my money!” said the traveler. “But please, if I come home emptyhanded, my wife will never believe that I was robbed, and will accuse me of having squandered the money on gambling or liquor, and she will beat me mercilessly. Please, do me the favor of firing several bullets through my hat, so I can prove to her that I was held up.”
The robber saw no reason not to comply, and shot several times through the man’s hat.
“Thank you so much,” the traveler said. “But you don’t know my wife. She will say I punctured the hat, and that these were not bullet holes at all. Here, take my coat and shoot several bullets through it at close range, leaving powder marks. That will convince her for sure.”
When the traveler saw that the last pull of the trigger hit an empty chamber, he pounced on the robber, knocking him to the ground, retrieved his moneybag and fled.
The Inner Thief
This story, told by chassidic master Rabbi Nachman of Breslov,2 conveys the tragic pattern of many a person’s life. We each have a thief, or a negative inclination, lingering within us. The thief continuously wishes to rob us of our inner goodness and spirituality. Yet many of us discover the willingness and the power to battle our thief only after he has fired all his bullets against us. Only after allowing our unhealthy addictions and impulses to consume our lives do we realize that they are hollow and empty, and finally find the courage to subdue the thief and embark on the path of recovery.
The Ten Plagues
The ten famous plagues that are recorded in the Torah are not to be viewed as merely a set of supernatural occurrences that wrecked the Egyptian empire around 3300 years ago. The Torah is not only a book recording ancient tales, but a blueprint for life, a manual for the development of the human race. Therefore, the episodes recorded in the Torah represent timeless, spiritual tales occurring continuously in the heart of each man.
How are we to apply the story of the Ten Plagues to our personal lives in the 21st century?
Anatomy of the Soul
The Kabbalah teaches that every human soul is comprised of ten points of energy, ten characteristics that make up its inner personality. The first three form the subconscious identity of the soul and its cognitive powers. The final seven constitute the emotional persona of the soul. These ten characteristics, also known as the ten sefirot (“lights”), are enumerated in Kabbalah in the following manner:
Hebrew Name English Translation Plague
Keter --------------- Supra-conscious ------------Death of Firstborn
Chochmah -------- Conception -------------------Darkness
Binah----------------- Intelligence -------------------Locusts
Chessed------------- Love ----------------------------Hail
Gevurah ------------ Rejection----------------------Boils
Tif’eret --------------- Compassion ----------------Epidemic
Netzach-------------- Ambition ---------------------Devouring Beasts
Hod -------------------- Submission -----------------Lice
Yesod ------------------ Bonding ---------------------Frogs
Malchut---------------- Confidence---------------- Blood
Each of us was given a choice in life. We may either refine and repair these ten attributes so that they express our inner divine light, or we may pervert and corrupt these very attributes, by using them in unhealthy and immoral ways.
Ancient Egypt, with its demonic program of systematically eliminating an entire people, the Hebrews, from the face of the earth, chose to embark on the latter path. The original Egyptian nation perverted all ten attributes of its soul. The negative energy engendered by the perversion of so many human spirits returned back to Egypt in the form of ten plagues that befell the country.
In our personal lives, Egypt reflects a state of psychological dysfunction, in which one or many of the soul’s attributes become distorted and dysfunctional, hindering a human being’s ability for true self-actualization and fulfillment. This is indicated in the Hebrew name for “Egypt,” Mitzrayim, which may be translated as “inhibitions” or “constraints.”4 When we fail to confront our own demons, our perverted attributes can return to us too in the form of psychological plagues.
The Ten Plague thus correspond to the Ten Sefirot (from the bottom up, as in the table above):
1) Blood—Destructive Confidence
The first plague, in which the Nile River turned into blood, was a physical symbol of the destructive confidence that became the hallmark of Egypt, the geographical as well as the psychological Egypt. Instead of a constructive confidence that builds one’s spiritual character and fosters sensitivity to others, “Egyptian” confidence breeds dominance and exploitation of other people.5 When one’s perception of confidence becomes truly corrupt, it can lead that person to generate rivers of blood, as the Egyptians indeed did.
The Nile River embodied the source of Egyptian confidence and security. Since little rain falls in Egypt, the country’s agriculture and sustenance are completely dependent on the Nile; therefore the ancient Egyptians actually deified the Nile.6 The waters of the Nile turning into blood reflected the perverse state of a nation which turns its confidence into blood, using its position of strength and power to slaughter and butcher countless innocent human beings.
2) Frogs—Cold Intimacy
The second plague, in which swarms of frogs inundated Egypt, symbolized the cold and dispassionate intimacy characterizing a person who lives in a psychological Egypt.
Frogs are cold-blooded amphibious creatures, and they hatch in cold climates.7 Female frogs usually deposit their eggs into water, where they hatch into tadpoles. Also land-dwelling frogs deposit their eggs in cold and moist holes.8 Due to this, and to the fact that eggs deposited in this fashion receive no parental protection, frogs came to reflect in the Kabbalah an emotional state of apathy, detachment and coldness.9
This condition robs a human being of the ability to experience genuine emotional intimacy with any other person—a spouse, a child or a friend. The “frog” personality is the person who when asked, “What’s the difference between ignorance and apathy?” replied, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”
3) Lice—Unhealthy Submission
The third plague, in which the dust of Egypt turned into lice, reflected the symptoms of unhealthy submission.
The attribute of “submission,” like all attributes of the soul, can be productive or destructive. To forever remain a humble student of life’s lessons is one of the noblest character traits an individual can possess. The ability to surrender one’s ego to a higher truth is the foundation for all spiritual growth, as is the capacity to confess an error or a wrongdoing. “May my soul be like dust” is a daily Jewish prayer,10 expressing our wish that we remain humble in the presence of life’s mysteries. That is healthy humility and submission.
Destructive “Egyptian” submission is a humility that crushes one’s spirit and dulls its zest for life. In this type of submission, where one thinks of himself as a worthless creature who doesn’t matter, the perception of the self as useless dust develops into lice that demoralize and debase one’s life. Like the dust-turned-to-lice of Egypt, this type of humility sucks out a person’s blood, depriving him of his vitality and energy flow.
The holy Rabbi Aaron of Karlin put it in these words: “Depression is not a sin; yet what depression does, no sin can do.”
4) Devouring Beasts—Wild Ambition
The fourth plague, in which a swarm of devouring beasts attacked Egypt, is the physical symbol of unhealthy ambition.
Ambition is one of the greatest gifts in life. Ambition is the engine that drives a person to achieve greatness and make a difference in the world. Yet, if we do not refine this character trait, our ambitions can turn us into “devouring beasts” that crush and destroy the people we perceive to be standing in the way of the fulfillment of our goals.
5) Epidemic—Sly Compassion
The fifth plague, in which an epidemic annihilated the Egyptians’ cattle, served as the physical embodiment of the attribute of sly compassion, which like an epidemic, harms people silently and inconspicuously.
What is compassion? The Kabbalah teaches states that compassion is more powerful and more enduring than love. Love usually overlooks the flaws of a beloved one; therefore, when flaws do emerge, they may weaken the love, if not destroy it totally. Compassion, on the other hand, takes into consideration all the flaws of the individual in need of compassion, and extends a helping heart and hand regardless.11 This is holy compassion—the ability of a soul to experience the pain and the needs of its fellow human being.12
“Egyptian” compassion is sly, shrewd and deceitful. This well-finessed and seductive compassion is employed in order to exploit other people’s weaknesses for selfish purposes and destructive goals. When one uses compassion in this manner, it inflicts damage on a person in the silent and deadly way of an epidemic.13
6) Boils—Brutal Rejection
The sixth plague, in which embers from a hot furnace hurled over the land developed into boils on the skin of the Egyptian population, was the physical symbol of cruel rejection.
In Kabbalah, fire14 embodies the emotion of rejection, the soul’s capacity to refuse a person or a thing.15 Like fire, an act or a word of rejection may scorch or even demolish the one who is rejected. An additional connection between fire and rejection lies in the fact that fire surges upwards, moving away from earth. Rejection, too, constitutes an act of traveling inward and upward into one’s own world, removing one’s self from the people and the events in one’s environment.
Yet a healthy soul needs to know how to reject as much as it must know how to embrace. One is often called upon to refuse a destructive urge, to sever an unhealthy relationship, to say no to a spoiled child or an unethical business offer. That is healthy fire. It is a fire that destroys the negative in order to build the positive.
However, when our inner capacity for rejection turns into hate, bitterness and cruelty, the embers of our soul become a destructive force. Like boils, they infect our lives and the lives of people around us.
7) Hail—Frozen Love
The seventh plague, in which produce-destroying hail descended upon Egypt, was symbolic of selfish love.
If fire symbolizes rejection, it is water—naturally descending from a higher plane to a lower plane—that embodies the qualities of generosity and lovingkindness. In Kabbalah, the flow of love is compared to a flow of water, irrigating and nourishing a human soul with its refreshing vibrancy.16
Yet a person who finds himself in “Egyptian” bondage knows only an icy love—a love that is based entirely on self-seeking motives and self-centered considerations. This person’s rain-like flow of love becomes cold and frozen like hail, harming his loved ones instead of nurturing them.17
Va’eira and Bo: From Heart to Mind
It is not a coincidence that the Ten Plagues are recorded in two different sections of the Bible—the first seven in the Parshah of Va’eira (Exodus 7:19–9:35), and the final three in the Parshah of Bo (Exodus 10:1–12:33).
The first seven plagues—blood, frogs, lice, devouring beasts, epidemic, boils and hail—reflected the Egyptian perversion of the seven emotions: confidence, bonding, submission, ambition, compassion, rejection and love. The last three plagues—locust, darkness and the death of the first-born—represented the more severe corruption of the intellectual faculties and supra-conscious dimensions of the Egyptian soul.
When one’s emotions and instincts are impaired, the sane and objective mind offers hope for healing. But when a person’s mind starts playing ugly games with him, the path toward recovery becomes that much more painstakingly challenging.
8) Locust—Perverted Intelligence
The eighth plague, in which invading locusts left nothing green throughout Egypt, served as a symbol of the destructive consequences of a corrupted mind.
The ability of intellectual inquiry and scrutiny remains the singular most precious gift of the human race. It allows us to explore the universe, improve our lives and discover the higher moral calling of the human family. Yet the very same power may serve as a tool to rationalize every evil practiced under the face of the sun, and to justify every destructive lifestyle or habit.
Like the locust swarm that consumed all the existing plants of Egypt, leaving in its wake a barren soil, the corrupt mind can uproot every existing moral structure and every established sacred foundation, leaving in its wake a desolate society bereft of spiritual values or absolute principles. This is the tragedy of Egypt-like intellectualism, where one becomes so open-minded that his brains fall out.18
9) Darkness—A Locked Mind
The ninth plague, in which a thick darkness pervaded Egypt, reflected the inability of the inhibited “Egyptian” soul to actualize its faculty of conception.
The power of conception is the ability of one’s mind to conceive a new and original idea that was previously inaccessible. How? By the mind keenly realizing its limitations and borders, suspending its intellectual ego and opening itself up to a higher light, the previously inaccessible truth can emerge and illuminate the mind’s newly created empty space.19
When a person is arrogant and smug, he denies his mind the ability to experience illumination. He forces himself to remain in darkness, constricted forever to his own narrow vision of life.
10) Death of Firstborn—Death of Identity
The tenth and final plague, during which the firstborn of Egypt died, was the most devastating of all. It reflected the fact that the Egyptian abuse of the soul did not only affect its conscious faculties, but went on to distort and destroy its supra-conscious forces as well.
In the Kabbalah, the firstborn member of a family is symbolic of the first-formed instincts and motives of a soul, which lie beneath the surface of the conscious self. That dimension of the personality is usually more difficult to violate, because it is hidden and inaccessible. But a lifestyle of ongoing addiction and abuse will ultimately bring about the death of the firstborn, or the death of the supra-conscious element of one’s soul.20
This was the final “bullet” that put an end to the vicious cycle of Egyptian addiction and abuse. The Jewish people were set free, and they were well on their way to receive the Ten Commandments.
What are the Ten Commandments? They correspond to the Ten Plagues.21 Just as the plagues reflected the perversion of the ten faculties of the soul, the Ten Commandments represent the path of spiritual healing in each of these ten faculties, allowing all ten of them to express the harmony and splendor of man’s divine essence.22
Haggadot.com is a project of Custom & Craft Jewish Rituals Inc, a nonprofit design lab empowering half a million people each year to design meaningful Jewish rituals for themselves and their loved ones. When you donate,100% of your tax-deductible investment sustains our platform and provides access for those who cannot afford to give.
Anyone you invite to collaborate with you will see everything posted to this haggadah and will have full access to edit clips.
You will not be able to recover your
Are you sure you want to delete it?