Texts: Exodus 6:2-9:35 || Ezekiel 28:25-29:21
NOTE: Kol HaTor, in its commentaries on the weekly Parashot, endeavours to search for and accentuate the Torah Messages contained in the Parashot as applicable to the main Theme of Tanach of the Return of the House of Israel, i.e. the Lost Ten Tribes of Northern Israel and their Reconciliation with Judah to form the reunited 12-Tribed Kingdom of Israel.
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Our previous Parashah (Weekly Torah Reading) related how that Moses, until in his age eighty, never lived amongst his nation of birth, the Hebrews (12 Tribes of Ya’acov) till he was called by G-d to go and release the Hebrews from Egyptian slavery. We learned from this, that HaShem uses whatever forces He wishes, in order to bring about Redemption and that we dare not try and advise Him on that. We should rather adjust our outlook on Redemption and broaden our scope to recognize His True Call and Actions towards Redemption.
This week’s Parashah links onto that by describing how, it seems, even the great Moses did not realize that Redemption was indeed not a simple process, according to his personal thinking and expectations. Again, it is something that should be left to HaShem to steer – as HaShem reminds him when he somewhat audaciously questions G-d “for bringing these troubles on his people”. This Divine steering Process, according to numerous Bible instances, are destined to go through an intensifying tribulation period. In this way, as often referred to, it relates to birth pangs before the birth takes place. Then, Joy steps in.
The Jewish Sage, the Gaon of Vilna in his book Kol HaTor quotes a sentence from Psalms in this regard: “One who plants in tears, will harvest in joy”, That is what the process of Redemption is all about, and there is no getting around it.
All signs show that we are entering just such a period in time, referred to in the Bible as the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble.” Thereafter, Joyous Redemption will be the Wedding Feast Theme.
Our Torah Reading also relates such a period of great trials before the enslaved Hebrew nation was released “to go and worship their G-d in the wilderness.”
Just as the ancient Hebrews were Divinely called out of Egypt to the Promised Land, the Homeland of Ya’acov and the twelve Tribes, so today, Jews and re-identifying Ten Tribers are being called out of spiritual ‘Egypt’, the countries where they are exiled and had gone totally ‘lost’, back to the Land Promised to Avraham and the Patriarchs.
Our Parashah is clear about what it is that prevented the Hebrews from returning to their Land – two factors:
- the stubbornness of the people, the Hebrews themselves, and
- the stubbornness and hard heartedness of the Pharaoh who wanted to keep them enslaved, i.e. cheap labour.
Now, Rabbis commonly refer to Pharaoh as a type and an example of ourselves, individually.
The Talmud teaches us that “even when standing at the gates of Hell, wicked people will remain unrepentant.” As such, we are all like Pharaoh. The hardest thing for a person is to admit error; to change our personal predisposition on preferential important matters; to reverse course. These are very difficult challenges for people to deal with as our personal ego’s prevent it. It calls for repentance (teshuvah – to admit error and turn around) – a much called for but seldom accepted and practiced personal turn about.
Our stubbornness, like a Pharaoh, prevents us from dealing wisely and practically with circumstances which obstruct our Return, physically and spiritually.
As we will show shortly, this Pharaoh culture of stubbornness and hard heartedness is a widespread problem in both Judah (the Jews) and 10-Israel (the re-awakening and re-identifying Lost Ten Tribes of ancient Israel in exile across the globe). Like Pharaoh of old, this problem presents the greatest stumbling block in the way of the Final Redemption, i.e. the establishment of the re-united 12-Tribed Kingdom of Israel under the Rule of Messiah ben David. Once this rebellion of Pharaoh against the Power and Will of G-d is broken, the Redemption can take place and Peace can reign on earth.
To break this stubbornness of Pharaoh, requires, as in this Parashah, the Ten Plagues to totally destroy his ego and power. We will highlight a few comparative features here, from our Parashah, to serve as a mirror for our own images and attitudes. May this serve as directives for us (both the House of Judah and the House of 10-Israel) to properly prepare for the Redemption:
- “Power always brings with it an inflation of ego. Pharaoh cannot change course because doing so would deflate his ego and weaken his perceived power base. His strength, his power, is really his ultimate weakness. The great Pharaoh cannot admit his past mistakes for then he would no longer feel himself to be the great Pharaoh.
- “He is the victim of his own position and the power that comes with it. Ordinary people, even his own advisors, can admit to error and change course and policies. Not so the great Pharaoh, who deems himself to be a god and above all other humans in his realm. The more arrogant and prideful a person is, the less likely it is that he or she will allow reality to alter preconceived ideas and policies. Pharaoh is trapped in the web of his own making.” (www.torah.org – Parashat Vaeyrah)
Can you see some of these traits in yourself?
Let us high-light it further. Pharaoh is carried away by his own interests, his ruling power, his empire, his comfort zones. He can NOT let another power interfere. He can NOT let his sources of cheap labour. kingdom improvement and wealth (income) be dismantled.
Every individual has personal interests, assets, capital bases. comfort zones and sources of income. Most of us are securely enslaved to it. We are chained to it and fear the loss of it. Like a Pharaoh of Egypt, it resists the freedom of our souls which are called to Return, spiritually and physically. And in Torah terms, it most importantly includes physical Return to the Land and to identifying with, and as, the Nation of the G-d of Israel.
Do you now start to recognize some of Pharaoh’s traits in you. Or are you already securely in the Land and committed to HaShem’s Cause?
Moshe spoke Hashem’s words to the enslaved Hebrews, “but they did not heed Moshe, because of shortness of breath and hard work.” They were caught up in their daily commitments and clinging to their ‘kingdoms’. The Rabbis teach that the majority of Hebrews remained in Egypt when their fellow Hebrews left in the Exodus. They preferred to remain in their comfort zones. Imagine, taking the road to an unknown Promised Land.
How many Bible believers today, would leave their comfort zones for a new start in a foreign Land – even if referred to as the Promised Land in the Bible?
Resisting the Call to Return
The process of re-qualifying as a Ten Triber with a new Hebrew, Torah identity, entails extricating oneself from enslavement in Egypt.
What is the biggest resistance factor in this process?
Personal stubbornness, lack of faith in the ‘Moses’ leadership AND a Pharaoh identity, resisting to let the enslaved leave in freedom!
“The Torah tells us about the fertile Nile delta and the material blessing with which ancient Egypt was blessed. The Egyptians were granted these abundant resources in order to garner the bountiful crops that their Nile yielded. They were supposed to use the Nile’s refreshing waters to nourish their blood supply and live spiritually meaningful lives. However, this people became so debased, they turned the source of Hashem’s bounty into a source of idolatry by deifying the waters of the Nile. They enveloped themselves in the darkness of the material world, and were therefore afflicted with the plague of darkness.” (www.torah.org – Parashat Vaeyrah).
Similarly, Jews who resist the Call to Return to Israel and re-awakening Ten Tribers who resist the Call to fully identify with physical Israel (which includes spiritual Israel), have made their capital assets their god (like the Nile for Egyptians). Likewise their financial needs, their homes and assets, their infrastructures. Like in the land of Egypt, their daily involvements have become their “country” – just like the Nile is the reason for Egypt’s existence.
But HaShem assured the ancient Israelites, through Moshe, that He certainly would bring them back to the Land. That, however, would require “Ten Plagues” (Tribulation).
Thus, we have to expect this tribulation to come over us, for G-d is intent on bringing us all Home.
The Secret is, that YOU can shorten the Tribulation – like Pharaoh could have shortened it, had he yielded and not allowed his ego and stubbornness to each time oppose their release.
The Rabbis point out that the famine in Yosef’s time was shortened because Ya’acov was allowed by Pharaoh to move to and settle in Egypt for survival. The famine was subsequently even turned into great riches for the Pharaoh because citizens had to sell their assets and homes to pay him for food stocks which he had stored through Yoseph.
In this respect, the Rabbis point out an amazing change in the nature of the Tem Plagues. The first five did not succeed to change Pharaoh’s hardened heart, for his magicians could imitate Moses’s wonders. But then G-d changed His approach and He hardened Pharaoh’s heart. So, from the 6th plague onwards (the boils), when the magicians could not imitate Moses’s wonders. Pharaoh was still resistant, but this time because G-d had hardened his heart (Exod. 9:12; 10:20,27).
By the 9th Plague, Darkness set in, representing that all Light (opportunity) had left. Pharaoh warned Moshe never to return, for he would be killed. This was the end. Pharaoh’s opportunities (under the first 5 plagues) were spent, he earned an unrelenting heart for that, which ultimately culminated in the Plague of utter darkness. His opportunity to relent started with the 1st plague, representing blood, which is the life stream of mankind which brings life and enlightenment if correctly utilized. The Nile, god and sustainer of the Egyptians, became blood – thus killing the life stream of Egypt to show that the Creator God of Israel is the True Source of Life. But it would not convince Pharaoh and humble him. He lost every opportunity – until, from the 6th Plague onwards, when G-d hardened his heart; there was no room for repentance and utter Darkness set in. The Tenth Plague would force Pharaoh to release G-d’s People as He had promised them they would!
Ten Tribers today hear the Call of Moshe and of Yoseph (representing the Hebraic Restoration spear point element in the Reawakening). These souls may be Church goers, following what they believe the Bible is teaching. They may be Sabbath observers, Jewish Feast Day observers 0- or simply pro-Israel and pro-Jewish Christian Zionists; they may even be secular. They are somewhere in the world as a result of their forefathers having been exiled from the Land of Israel because of their rebellion against the ‘Jewish’ Torah. They are confronted by some or other format of the re-awakening Hebraic restoration Truths engulfing the earth. Their souls are called BACK to their Hebrew Roots, back to the Land, but, like a Pharaoh the resist, they refuse to bend and acknowledge to higher Truth; they refuse to accept the ‘Messenger’ whom they proclaim ‘an Egyptian’, they cling to their worldly comfort zone.
BEWARE! The Pleas that you encounter can start initially as ‘Blood of Life’, true Life, New Life, Eternal Life. Relent – before it turns into utter Darkness
Advanced Ten Tribers run another risk: Like a Pharaoh, they can be proud hearted. They own the Nile! – like Pharaoh who every morning went down to it – like a self-worship exercise – but in vain. For outside of the One True G-d of Israel, Who’s Requirements have been mandated to the Tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10), there is very little Light – for His Word is the Light of the World! You have to humble yourselves and learn from His Lawgivers – the spiritual leaders of Judah (Ps. 60:7; 108:8). The wisdom that you have been led to in your Hebraic Restoration experience may have made you proud. Many such Ten Tribers have become victim of their own position and the power that comes with it – like Pharaoh – unwilling to listen to the ‘Message of Moshe’ which they reject with contempt. Don’t let Darkness overtake you!
The Resistance of Judah
There is the risk of a Pharaoh culture here also:
Many Jews oppose the idea of an ‘Egyptian’ Moshe or Yoseph returning to the fold. The Returnees who come in the Name of the G-d of Israel, like a Moshe and a Yoseph, are rejected. They call them pagans, idol worshippers (‘Egyptians’). They refuse them Return to the fold by conversion. They even reject their willing and voluntary free support through their gifts and labours, to help to build the Land and secure it, labeling it as unlawful, a curse on the Land and its people.
Amos 9:11 “In that day I will restore David’s fallen tent … and build it as it used to be … 13 “The days are coming,” declares HaShem … New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills.14 I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine 15 I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the L-RD your G-d.”
This Prophecy does NOT apply to Jews (Judah) only. As our comprehensive extract of Scriptures in this regard show that “Israel” has a far wider implication in Prophetic Tanach. It refers to 10-Israel mostly, and if not, then certainly to 12-Israel, depending on the context – but NEVER to Judah alone. Judah is specified by name.
ref. Bible confirmations
Our Haftarah this week tells us what is going to happen to this Pharaoh.
It should now be clear why HaShem is so resolute about destroying the Nile – sustainer and god of Egypt – in this Prophetic Scripture.
Ezekiel 28:15 “This is what the Sovereign HaShem says: When I gather the people of Israel from the nations where they have been scattered, I will be proved holy through them in the sight of the nations. Then they will le in safety and will build houses and plant vineyards; they will live iive in their own land, which I gave to my servant Jacob. 26 They will live thern safety when I inflict punishment on all their neighbors who maligned them. Then they will know that I am HaShem their God.”
Because you said, ‘The Nile is mine; I made it,’ 10 therefore I am against you and against your streams, and I will make the land of Egypt a ruin and a desolate waste from Migdol to Aswan, as far as the border of Cush. 11 The foot of neither man nor beast will pass through it; no one will live there for forty years. 12 I will make the land of Egypt desolate among devastated lands.”