Jewish Soul Journey

CHUMASH SHEMOS – THE TEN PLAGUES THAT STILL CAN PLAGUE US TODAY

 

It has become by many the norm to try protect themselves with all kinds of insurance policies ranging from life, medical, dental, home, auto and many others forms of insurance. It seems quite ironic that so much money and apprehension should be spent on trying to secure the corporeal side of life while so many of these same people don’t “insure” their spiritual side of their lives. Many would answer that they don’t invest in spiritual “insurance” because they don’t believe in anything that they don’t know for sure there will be a payback, however in fact they all are believers because any insurance and investment company that offers future payment is making promises based on the “belief” that up the road the company will not go bankrupt and they will fill their end of the contract. Some of the biggest “rock solid” Corporations that went bankrupt during the height of the recession caused many of their employees to lose part or all of their future promised retirement fund. So, yes we are all “believers” but the difference between people is what they choose to believe in!!!

Even though the need for everyone to have free will to choose, the true value of fulfilling spiritual matters (mitzvos) is not revealed to us at the present time, but doesn’t it at least make sense to “hedge” your investments in a way to “cover all bases”. After all if you discover that there really is a future world in the spiritual realms and you didn’t invest in it, you are going to feel left out and very disappointed to say the least.

The Jewish nation had been slaves in Egypt with harsh labor. When it came the time for redemption, Hashem sent Moshe and Aahron to talk and tell Pharaoh to set free the Jewish people, however with a hardened heart Pharaoh refused even under the threat that the Egyptians would be smitten with (macot) plagues. The Creator initiated Moshe and strengthened his belief by showing him that his staff could miraculously turn into a snake and then turn back into a staff. What is the significance of this wonder? Perhaps we can say that Hashem wanted to teach all of us that even the snake, which symbolizes the (yetzer hora) negative inclination is also totally under His control, therefore that Pharaoh also who represents evil in man also is totally under My dominion. This means that no person or event in life is independent and outside the control of the Creator.

Another possible lesson to be derived by the staff turning into a snake and then back to a staff is to teach us that even if at some point in life a person falls under the spell of the snake – ie- desires – of this world, with the help of Hashem a sincere person will be helped to do a full teshuva – ie. turn back into a staff – and now even be given even greater powers of holiness than ever before as was the case of Moshe’s staff that was used in performing some of the ten macot.

Then an additional substantiation that Hashem controls everything in life was shown to Moshe before the plagues began. Moshe’s hand turned instantly leprous (which is a sign of the withdrawal of the life force) and then in an instant the same hand was miraculously healed. What could be the meaning and significance of this bizarre event? Hashem also wants to assure Moshe and us that not only does He control everything in this world including the evil inclination (yetzer hora) but He also is the controller over all phases of life including our health.

Let us try to see parallels with the ten macot and relatable diseases that plague society today.

The first plague was that all the water in Egypt was turned to blood. What is the significance of this plague specifically taking place in this way? Water is a basic source of life. Science tells us that not only is eighty percent of the world filled with water but the human body also consists of about eighty percent of water and other fluids like blood. Let us explore this further by understanding the nature of man. A natural occurrence that happens to someone when they get upset is there blood pressure goes up. That means, so to speak, the aspect called blood which parallels – gavurot – strict judgment asserts itself over the attribute of – chesed – altruistic kindness which correlates to water. Medically it is well known the dangers of elevated blood pressure and any other blood related diseases.

 

The second plague to befall the Egyptians was that of  the crocking frogs. What application in our lives can we find in relationship to this plague? This perhaps can be seen as the next stage of persistent grumbling – ie. croaking – when the anger manifests itself as complaining.

The third plague was that of lice. This happens what when a person’s anger reaches the point where they feel that others are constantly bothering them. “under my skin”. This means they allow other people to irritate them rather than seeing them as being sent from H. to test their medios of patience, tolerance and respect.

The forth plague was that of the wild beasts. Once anger becomes excessive it can unfortunately lead to one lowering their dignity down to the level of, as the expression goes, acting like a wild animal.

The eight plague was that of the locusts which ate anything that was still left out in the fields. By the time a person reaches this degree of anger that will consume – ie. destroy – everything around them.

The ninth plague of darkness could be hinting to the well known expression that anger “blinds” a person from seeing the truth.

The tenth plague of the death of the firstborn. Being angry is likened to serving advoda zora which is a kind of “death” to the soul – ie. the firstborn

These ten levels can be  controlled through following the guidance of our Torah. We say before going to sleep the following words of the Torah: “If you diligently head the voice of Hashem, your G-d, and do what is proper in His eyes, and you listen closely to his commandments and observe His decrees – the entire malady that I inflicted upon Mitzraim, I will not inflict upon you, for I am Hashem your healer. We see from here that the ideal “healer” is one who “heals” through preventive “measures” . Therefore the best advice is to endeavor not to get angry in the first place which will lead to meriting the ability to go out from Mitzraim – the consciousness of  contraction and into the higher consciousness of expanded awareness seeing everything emanating from the Divine with purposeful design.