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Introduction
Source : http://www.zemirotdatabase.org/view_song.php?id=126

אַדִיר בִּמְלוּכָה, בָּחוּר כַּהֲלָכָה, גְּדוּדָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ 
לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ יי הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה. 

דָּגוּל בִּמְלוּכָה, הָדוּר כַּהֲלָכָה, וָתִיקָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: 
לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ יי הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה. 

זַכַּאי בִּמְלוּכָה, חָסִין כַּהֲלָכָה טַפְסְרָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: 
לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ יי הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה. 

יָחִיד בִּמְלוּכָה, כַּבִּיר כַּהֲלָכָה לִמוּדָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: 
לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ יי הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה. 

מוֹשֵׁל בִּמְלוּכָה, נוֹרָא כַּהֲלָכָה סְבִיבָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: 
לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ יי הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה. 

עָנָיו בִּמְלוּכָה, פּוֹדֶה כַּהֲלָכָה, צַדִּיקָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: 
לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ יי הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה. 

קָּדוֹשׁ בִּמְלוּכָה, רַחוּם כַּהֲלָכָה שִׁנְאַנָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: 
לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ יי הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה. 

תַּקִיף בִּמְלוּכָה, תּוֹמֵךְ כַּהֲלָכָה תְּמִימָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: 
לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ יי הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה.

Translation: Because it is proper for Him, because it befits Him. Mighty in sovereignty, rightly select. His minions say to Him: “Yours and Yours, Yours because it is Yours, Yours and only Yours— Yours, Adonai, is sovereignty!” Exalted in sovereignty, rightly glorious. His faithful ones say to Him: “Yours and Yours, Yours because it is Yours, Yours and only Yours— Yours, Adonai, is sovereignty!” Blameless in sovereignty, rightly powerful. His generals say to Him: “Yours and Yours, Yours because it is Yours, Yours and only Yours— Yours, Adonai, is sovereignty!” Singular in sovereignty, rightly strong. His learned ones say to Him: “Yours and Yours, Yours because it is Yours, Yours and only Yours— Yours, Adonai, is sovereignty!” Exalted in sovereignty, rightly awesome. Those who surround Him say to Him: “Yours and Yours, Yours because it is Yours, Yours and only Yours— Yours, Adonai, is sovereignty!” Humble in sovereignty, rightly saving. His righteous ones say to Him: “Yours and Yours, Yours because it is Yours, Yours and only Yours— Yours, Adonai, is sovereignty!” Holy in sovereignty, rightly merciful. His multitudes say to Him: “Yours and Yours, Yours because it is Yours, Yours and only Yours— Yours, Adonai, is sovereignty!” Strong in sovereignty, rightly supportive. His perfect ones say to Him: “Yours and Yours, Yours because it is Yours, Yours and only Yours— Yours, Adonai, is sovereignty!” 


Transliteration: 

Ki lo na’eh, ki lo ya’eh.

Adir bimlucha, bachur kahalcha, g’dudav yomru lo: l’cha u’l’cha, l’cha ki l’cha, l’cha af l’cha, l’cha Adonai hamamlachah, Ki lo na’eh, ki lo ya’eh.

Dagul bimluchah, hadur kahalachah, vatikav yom’ru lo: l’cha u’l’cha, l’cha ki l’cha, l’cha af l’cha, l’cha Adonai hamamlachah, Ki lo na’eh, ki lo ya’eh.

Zakai bimluchah, chasin kahalachah taf’srav yom’ru lo: l’cha u’l’cha, l’cha ki l’cha, l’cha af l’cha, l’cha Adonai hamamlachah, Ki lo na’eh, ki lo ya’eh.

Yachid bimluchah, kabir kahalachah limudav yom’ru lo: l’cha u’l’cha, l’cha ki l’cha, l’cha af l’cha, l’cha Adonai hamamlachah, Ki lo na’eh, ki lo ya’eh.

Moshail bimluchah, nora kahalachah savivav yom’ru lo: l’cha u’l’cha, l’cha ki l’cha, l’cha af l’cha, l’cha Adonai hamamlachah, Ki lo na’eh, ki lo ya’eh.

Anav bimluchah, podeh kahalachah, tzadikav yom’ru lo: l’cha u’l’cha, l’cha ki l’cha, l’cha af l’cha, l’cha Adonai hamamlachah, Ki lo na’eh, ki lo ya’eh.

Kadosh bimluchah, rachum kahalachah shinanav yom’ru lo: l’cha u’l’cha, l’cha ki l’cha, l’cha af l’cha, l’cha Adonai hamamlachah, Ki lo na’eh, ki lo ya’eh.

Takif bimluchah, tomaich kahalachah t’mimav yom’ru lo: l’cha u’l’cha, l’cha ki l’cha, l’cha af l’cha, l’cha Adonai hamamlachah, Ki lo na’eh, ki lo ya’eh.

Kadesh
Source : A Night to Remember: The Haggadah of Contemporary Voices by Mishael Zion and Noam Zion http://haggadahsrus.com/NTR.html
The Four Cups of the Seder are structurally connected to the four verbal performances this evening:

(1) Kiddush, sanctifying the holiday (2) Maggid, the storytelling (3) Birkat HaMazon, completing the Pesach meal; and (4) Hallel, completing the festival Psalms.

The Talmud connects the Four Cups to God's Four Promises to Israel: "Tell the children of Israel: I am Adonai! I will take them out... I will rescue them… I will redeem them… and I will marry them taking them as my people and I will be their God" (Exodus 6:6-7, Jerusalem Talmud Pesachim 10:1).

However, two 16th C. mystic rabbis identify the Four Cups with the Four Matriarchs of Israel. The Maharal of Prague (famous for the legend of Golem) and Rav Isaiah Horowitz of Tsfat explain:

(1) The Cup of Kiddush stands for Sarah who was the mother of a community of converts, believers by choice.

(2) The Cup of Maggid is for Rebecca who knew how to mother both Esav and Jacob, two opposed natures.

(3) The Cup of the Blessing after Eating represents Rachel whose son Joseph provided the whole family of Jacob with bread in a time of great famine.

(4) The Cup of Hallel (Praise) is for Leah who came to realize that the pursuit of the impossible, Jacob's love, must give way to appreciation of what one has. When her fourth child was born, Judah, she praised God: " This time I will thank God " (Genesis 29:35).

Karpas
Source : Alex Weissman, Ritualwell.org

The karpas, the green vegetable, is the first part of the seder that makes this night different from all other nights. So far, the first glass of wine and the hand washing, though significant, do not serve to mark any sort of difference; they are regular parts of meals. The karpas, however, is not. As a night marked by difference, that difference starts now. Tonight, we celebrate difference with the karpas. Here, difference brings us hope, joy, and renewed life.

We also know that with difference can come pain and tears. We have shed these tears ourselves and we have caused others to shed tears. Some say we dip the karpas in salt water to remind ourselves of Joseph, whose brothers sold him into slavery and then dipped his fabulous, technicolor dream coat into blood to bring back to their father, Jacob. Difference can also be dangerous.

Tonight, we dip the karpas into salt water, and as we taste it, we taste both the fresh, celebratory hope of difference and the painful blood and tears that have come with it.

Together we say:

Brukha at Yah eloheynu ruakh ha'olam boreit p'ri ha'adamah.

You are Blessed, Our God, Spirit of the World, who creates the fruit of the earth.

This clip originally appeared on Ritualwell.org.

Yachatz
Source : THE ANONYMOUS HAGGADAH

YACHATZ

Is matzo poor man's bread or the food of free men? Can it be both? If we regard it as the Bread of Affliction why did we carry dough on our backs out of Egypt, to let it bake in the hot sun without leavening and rising? Can one Matzo be both a symbol of wretchedness and deliverance?

Matzo is a paradox.

Not only is it so, but in breaking the middle matzo we also break with symmetry. There is a bigger half and a smaller half. This unpalatable truth is almost a preamble to the Haggadah. The universe is not symmetrical, all is not evenly divided. There is a richer and poorer half. The distribution of assets is not equal. This is one of the mysteries that persists, omnipresent, throughout time. Life the universe and everything is not fair. We cannot balance this sorry scheme of things entire, and so it goes. What was our response as children to the dawning realization that it was not fair? Did we have coping mechanisms? We survived so we must have coped, but we sacrificed our health in order to do so. We split. We broke into pieces. We hid ourself away. And this is how we prepared ourselves for life. Like the hungriest of paupers eating what we absolutely must, laying aside the greater part for later, when the time is riper. We compromised, accepting this imbalance, bowing to the "Law of Unfairness” which must prevail.

In many ways this acquiescence preceded addiction. We grew satisfied with the expression of a mere fraction of our personalities. We went into "survival mode", subsisting on crumbs of humanness, hiding the greater part of ourselves from ourselves. As we do with the AFIKOMEN.

The focus of our lives grew narrower as our preoccupation with gnawing hunger grew stronger. We had nothing to spare for growth when all we had went to feed our habits. Fewer and fewer opportunities to begin the fixing, as we chased the fix with growing desperation. In the end it became obvious that we had developed a pathological relationship with the "bread of our affliction".

We break the middle matzo because the middle matzo represents the Great Mothering Principle of the Kabbalistical Sphere of BINAH. We lost the ability to take care of our most basic needs, to Mother ourselves.

If the recitation of the Haggadah is our "war-story", our qualification, why are we breaking the matzo now before beginning our war story?

The answer is heartbreaking. The reason this happens before the Haggadah, is because the splitting of the self almost always occurs when we are still in a pre-verbal state. The disorder of our personalities, the shaming and abandonment of ourselves happens when we are still babies, infants. What follows is the story of our lives after the rupture. The inevitable, inexorable descent into the blast-furnace that was our Egypt, and our deliverance. There are no words to describe the event. We simply break the matzo, leaving the smaller section on the Seder plate, We wrap the larger piece in a pillow-case and put it away for afikomen.

Recovery is a lifelong process. We must realize, actualize and integrate the whole of ourselves. We will do this by eating the Afikomen as a symbolic "last-act" of the Seder. When it is all over we will have achieved a reclamation of the "self" we abandoned. We take the Afikomen we have wrapped in a pillowcase, slinging it over the shoulder we explain to our children:

“This is what our parents did when they came out of Egypt;”

As it is written:

“Their dough slung over their shoulders in sheets”

And the sun shone so hot that it was baked, without the opportunity to leaven as dough left alone will do. And so they continued to eat the unleavened bread even when they came out of Egypt".

Why did we continue eating this bread after we had left Egypt? Why is this a point worth mentioning? In a sense we are reminding ourselves of those times early in Recovery when we found ourselves in very painful situations, eating what seemed identical to the bread of our affliction. We can only see with hindsight that we were eating bread of freedom. In our haste to leave Egypt we were prepared to go to any lengths; even mothers with tiny children walked away from the only homes they had. Walking into the wilderness with nothing to eat but unfinished pastry dough and trust in their Higher Power. It is customary to hide the Afikomen, allowing children the excitement of the search. Just another way of keeping them awake and alert whilst the Seder continues.

Yachatz
Source : Ritualwell.org

By Rabbi Melissa Klein, Rabbi Joanna Katz, Rabbi Julie Greenberg, Rabbi Jo Hirschmann, Susan Kaplow, Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell

This year, we add a padlock and a key to our seder plate.

Those of us who are blessed to live in our own homes tend to associate locks and keys with protection and access. Many of us have homes that keep us safe and that allow us to go in and out as we please. In contrast, for more than two million individuals who are incarcerated in the United States — the majority of whom are people of color — the lock represents the reality of being locked up and then locked out. Upon leaving prison with a felony conviction, these Americans “enter a hidden underworld of legalized discrimination and permanent social exclusion” (Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow, p. 13). They are locked out of jobs, housing opportunities, and in many places, voting rights. In Michelle Alexander’s words, “Today a criminal freed from prison has scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a freed slave or a black person living ‘free’ in Mississippi at the height of Jim Crow” ( The New Jim Crow, p. 141).

We place the lock and key on our seder plate tonight to ally ourselves with those who are behind bars, with those who are labelled as felons in the community, and with the parents, children, and other family members of those who are locked up and locked out. The key represents our commitment, as Jews who know a history of oppression, to join the movement to end mass incarceration in the United States. The key reminds us of our potential to partner with the Source of Liberation to unlock a more promising, dignified future for us all.

The task may seem overwhelming, yet each of us can do our part to help transform the criminal justice system here in the United States. The first step to transformation is awareness, and thus we ask questions and learn from one another this seder night.

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The material in this haggadah supplement may be challenging to process. We recommend allowing each person at the seder table to share reactions and feelings, as well as personal experiences, without interruption or judgment. By sharing in this way, we make the seder table a sacred space for connection and deepened understanding.

To view the full  Passover Haggadah Supplement: Crying Out Against Mass Incarceration, click here.

This clip is provided by Ritualwell.

Maggid - Beginning
Source : http://fairtradejudaica.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/ChildLaborInTheCocoaFields.pdf

Child labor in cocoa fields has been documented in the following countries: Cameroon, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, (leading supplier, accounting for around 40% of production) Guinea and Nigeria.

Hundreds of thousands of children work in cocoa fields, and many of them are exposed to hazardous conditions, where they:

- Spray pesticides and apply fertilizers without protective gear

- Use sharp tools, like machetesSustain injuries from transporting heavy loads beyond permissible weight

- Do strenuous work like felling trees, and clearing and burning vegetation

These children are treated with the “worst forms of child labor” (defined by the International Labor Organization), including

-mforms of slavery, the sale of a child and

- trafficking of children (recruiting children to work far away from families)

- debt bondage

- Most children who travel to work in cocoa fields are not accompanied by their parents

- Over 40% of children working in cocoa fields do not attend school

- Children as young as five (5) years old work on cocoa farms

-- Exodus Story
Source : http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/16111
by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

-- Ten Plagues
Source : http://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/350962/jewish/Ten-Ways-to-Destroy-Your-Life.htm

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.1

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:3

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.5When 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.7Female frogs usually deposit their eggs into water, where they hatch into tadpoles. Also land-dwelling frogs deposit their eggs in cold and moist holes.8Due 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-consciousdimensions 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.21Just 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

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