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The Ten Lessons

One of the most difficult elements of the Passover story for me has always been the ten plagues. As a child I was terrified at the description of a God who would administer such suffering. As I studied the mystical interpretations of these events I found a deeper meaning that has helped me hold these archetypal elements in a way that brings me closer to spirit. 

The world was created with ten Divine statements. 
The ten statements of creation brought the world into being 
in a manner in which the energy of spirit 
that maintains its existence 
was hidden. 
The ten plagues were actually ten lessons 
that sought to break through 
the veils of concealment 
and allow for 
the revelation 
of that 
Divine power 
to enter our consciousness 
through the giving of 
the Ten Commandments, 
the Ten Precepts.
-Rabbi Yehudah Arieh Leib of Gur.

According to this mystical interpretation, each lesson or plague shattered an illusion of human power over nature and of the powers of idolized gods, thus revealing that there was a single Divine force at work in the world. Once all ten lessons occurred, the human ego (Pharaoh) surrendered its control to the higher Self (Moses) and the rest of the human psyche (the children of Israel) so that the mind and heart of each person who was to receive the Ten Precepts would be open to receiving them.

This process was created by the Divine to establish a profound experience for humanity to aid in the awakening of the Divine self within all beings. It was a symbolic and a literal example of Divine principles at work within the individual, collective, and unitive heart and mind. To this end, the Divine led the children of Israel, the Awakening Self, into the land of bondage/narrowness (Egypt/Mitzrayim) with the intention of freeing them by means of the Ten Lessons. 

And the Divine “…hardened Pharaoh’s heart in order to have the opportunity to display many miraculous signs and wonders in the land of narrowness;” (Exodus 7:3) proving the existence of the one true Source of Life and shattering the belief in false gods and human powers.

These are the Ten Lessons 
that the Divine 
brought upon the land of Mitzrayim, 

the consciousness of narrowness;
each lesson revealing
a Divine aspect 
of creation:

Lesson/Plague (Hebrew)

Lesson/Plague (English)

Represented Divine Aspects of Creation

Dom

Blood

All sustenance comes from the Divine

Tzifardeyah

Frogs

All support comes from the Divine

Keenim

Lice

All integrity comes from the Divine

Arov

Wild Beasts

All endurance comes from the Divine

Dever

Pestilence

All beauty comes from the Divine

Shicheen

Boils

All justice comes from the Divine

Barahd

Hail

All mercy comes from the Divine

Arbeh

Locusts

All understanding comes from the Divine

Choshech

Darkness

All wisdom comes from the Divine

Makat Bichorot

Death of Firstborn

All life and death comes from the Divine

  

Index
Welcome
Introduction
In Beginning
In The Beginning
Before The Beginning
Endlessness
Eternal Light
Darkness
The Divine Orchard
The Awakening Self
The Divine Name
Season of Liberation
The Ten Lessons
Kabbalah Q&A

 

Here is a table showing the relationship between the Ten Sefirot of the Tree of Life, the Ten Sayings of Creation, the Ten Lessons (Plagues), the Ten Precepts (Commandments), and Martin Buber's Ten Rungs:

 

The Ten Holy Sefirot

 

 

(Emanation)

 

The Ten Holy Sayings

of Creation

 

(Creation)

The Ten Lessons

(Plagues)

 

(Formation)

The Ten Precepts

(Commandments)

 

(Action)

The Ten Rungs

(Martin Buber)

KETER

Emanation

(Crown)

 

Light

“Let there be Light.”

(10)  

Death of Firstborn

Severing the connection between the body and soul (ego and Higher Self)

There is only one God

Redemption

HOKHMAH

Wisdom

Heaven

“Let there be a firmament in the middle of the water.”

(9)

Darkness

The curtailment of the Life Force.

No form can represent God

Pride/ Humility

BINAH

Understanding

Earth & Sea

“The water shall be gathered and dry land shall be seen.”

(8)

Locusts

The destruction of the Life-Form system.

God’s Name is Holy

Good/Evil

HESED

Mercy

Vegetation

“Let the earth send forth vegetation.”

(7)

Hail

Uncontrolled force of Mercy.

The 7th Day is Holy

Love

GEVURAH

Justice

(Judgment)

Sun, Moon, Stars

“Let there be lights in the Heavens to divide day & night.”

(6)

Boils

Concentrated form of Justice.

Honor Each Other

The Way

TIFERET

Beauty

(Balance; Harmony; Compassion)

Sea & Sky Creatures

“Let the waters team with life and let creatures fly on the face of the sky.”

(5)

Pestilence

The separation of life and death (Animal soul and Psyche; Egypt and Israel).

Honor all Life

The Teachings

NEZAH

Endurance

(Victory; Eternity)

Land Creatures

“Let the earth bring forth living creature.”

(4)

Wild Beasts

The animal soul (physical endurance) self-destructs.

Honor your Commitments

Service

HOD

Distinction

(Glory; Splendor)

Human Being

“Let us create a being in our image and likeness.”

(3)

Lice

Madness

Honor the Boundaries of Others

Heaven/Earth

YESOD

Formation

(Foundation)

Sustenance

“Behold I have given the fruit of the earth as food for all living beings.”

(2)

Frogs

Foundation becomes unclean.

Speak the Truth

Prayer

MALKHUT

Manifestation

(Kingdom; Shekhinah)

Male/Female

“I will make a you companion.”

(1)

Blood

Life-giving principle reversed.

Release all Attachments

God/ Humanity

 

References

Buber, M. (1947). Ten Rungs. New York: Citadel Press.      

Kaplan, M. A. (2003). A Mystical Passover: A Transformational Passover Haggadah. Pacific Grove, CA: Original Gravity. Available at:
http://www.originalgravity.com/publications/mysticalpassover.htm

Touger, E. (1988). The Chassidic Haggadah. New York: Moznaim Publishing.

 

 

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