• August 28th, 2022
  • Elul 1st, 5782


I Revealed Myself

Presented By
Torah Contributor

Breaking Free Continued

Va'eira is the second portion in the Book of Exodus and the 2nd week of the 6-week period called Shovavim - an acronym for the first letter of the first six portions of Exodus (Shemot, Va'eira, Bo, Beshalach, Yitro and Mispatimim). Although the literal story is the continued saga of Moses and Aaron working as agents for G-d to secure the release of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, spiritually there is a cosmic opening at this time where we can achieve personal freedom from slavery. During this six week period we each have the opportunity to be proactive and rise above our limitations in the physical realm and break free from whatever enslaves us - bad relationships, a dead-end job, drugs, money or any other challenges.

Power of the Tetragramm

The portion opens with G-d's words to Moses - "I am G-d (Yud Kei Vav Kei). I revealed myself to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob by the name of El Shaddai, but by my name Yud Kei Vav Kei I did not make myself known to them." The name represented by Yud Kei Vav Kei is the holiest name of G-d which is never pronounced and we even substitute the letter "Hei" for the letter "Kei" when spelling it. This name is referred to as the Tetragrammaton (the four-letter name of G-d) and is considered the full and quintessential truth and being of G-d. El Shaddai on the other hand is considered a more limited manifestation of G-d. The question is how come G-d has revealed Himself to Moses on a higher level than the other Patriarchs? First, it is thought that Moses needed the full power of the YKVK as he was attempting to lead an entire nation - whereas the others were primarily responsible for themselves. Secondly, it is thought that G-d saw that Moses was using his intellect and was having doubts about his capabilities. In order to transcend his doubts and serve without limitation, G-d realized Moses needed the full power of the YKVK. Lastly, the Zohar states that Moses was not satisfied with the lower level of Light represented by the name provided to him at the end of Parshsa Shemot and therefore G-d revealed Himself here at the higher level. The message from the Zohar is that it was a good time for Moses to ask for more - and not to settle. There is an opportunity to say no, even to something good, in order to get something better. We can get the strength from this portion to not always accept things as they are and to see the world with greater possibility. This is when doubts become certainty and miracles become possible.

The Importance of Lineage

There is a detailed description of Moses and Aaron's lineage inserted somewhat awkwardly in the portion. This is meant to show us the importance of our parents and those who came before us. Moses and Aaron's accomplishments are to a great extent the result of influence from their parents (Yocheved and Amram) and their predecessors. It is likewise important for each of us to value our ancestor's gifts, no matter how small or large, that get handed down to us in terms of stories, wisdom and lessons that form our personalities and drive our successes in life.

The Plagues

The Kabbalists believe the plagues represent the Ten Sephirot (from Malchut to Keter) and by listening to them in this portion, we can connect to the energy of the Sephirot and restore the Light which was lost as a result of the original sin in the Garden of Eden. Essentially, each plague is a blast of energy that wipes out the 10 levels of negativity within our human nature. In Va'eira we read about the first 7 plagues: Blood / Malchut; Frogs / Yesod; Lice / Hod; Wild Beasts / Netzach; Pestilence / Tiferet; Boils / Gevurah; and Hail / Chesed.

Free Will to Change the Future

It is surprising that Pharaoh would let Moses freely come and go from the Royal Palace after each plague. This hints that there is more to the story and an interesting lesson can be gleaned from Pharoah's behavior. We each have a personal tikkun or spiritual correction to make in our lifetime. If we do not correct our tikkun by exercising free will and addressing the issue head on, the same or similar issue and opportunity will present itself again and again until we get it right. In Va'eira we see an example of this with Pharaoh. Time and again he tells Moses that he will let his people go, yet as soon as the plagues stop, his heart becomes hardened and he goes back on his word. Just like Pharaoh, when we see situations that we should act upon and fail to do so, the same thing will happen to us again - like the plagues which continued to happen to Pharoah and the Egyptians.

In sum, we have the next several weeks during Shovavim to transform limitation to freedom - the representation of going from Egypt to receiving the Torah. We can use the power of the Tetragrammaton in our prayers and meditations to achieve the highest level of consciousness to connect to G-d. We must always remember from where we came - our parents and lineage, in order to truly appreciate our success. And we must be sensitive to the recurring opportunities presented to us and use our free will to become proactive and achieve our spiritual correction or tikkun.