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Posted on January 17, 2024 (5784) By Rabbi Pinchas Winston | Series: | Level:

Friday Night

THE VERSE SAYS, “It happened at the end of 430 years…that all the legions of God went out of the land of Egypt” (Shemos 12:40), which is interesting because God only spoke to Avraham about 400 years during the Bris Ben HaBesarim. Was it because of inflation? Besides, everyone knows that the Jewish people didn’t even stay in Egypt for the full 400 years, but left 190 years earlier after only 210 years.

And it wasn’t even because of good behavior. Quite the contrary. The Jewish people had been teetering on the edge of spiritual annihilation, so God stepped into history 190 years earlier than prophesied to reverse the trend starting with the first plague. After that got the Jewish people’s attention, the rest of the plagues educated the Jewish people more and more about God until, by the death of the firstborn, the Jewish people had completely left the 40 Gates of Spiritual Impurity and were ready to leave Mitzrayim.

Parenthetically, the Ben Ish Chai points out that the gematria of keitz, as in Keitz HaYomim, the End of Days, equals 190. This is because when it finally happens, probably some time over the next couple of days, it will also be the payback for the 190 years we have “owed” history ever since we left early. That’s why it says regarding the final redemption that we will leave exile, “like in the days of leaving Egypt” (Michah 7:15). Literally.

In any case, the 210 years we were in Egypt seem more incidental than planned. It’s a nice round number, but it only became the time to leave Egypt because of the Jewish people’s free fall into spiritual oblivion. At least that is the way it is made to sound…on the level of Pshat. Sod, however and once again, turns Pshat on its head:

“The reason for the exile of the Jewish people in Egypt has already been explained on the verse, “A new king rose up” (Shemos 1:8), that the entire generation was sparks of the destroyed seed of Adam which flowed through the brain of the Da’as literally, and were very elevated souls. Since they came from there, they needed to be in exile for 210 years, which is ten times the name of the Eheyeh in the Da’as from the side of Imma, as mentioned…The exile was only supposed to last for 210 years, the number of 10 [Eheyehs], because that was the basis of the blemish [they needed to rectify]. Therefore, it says, ‘You will say [to the Children of Israel], ‘Eheyeh has sent me to you’ (Shemos 3:14). Since they rectified the level of the name Eheyeh, their redemption came from there.” (Sha’ar HaPesukim, Parashas Shemos, q.v. Vaya’ar Malach Hashem)

I suppose this requires some explanation.

Shabbos Day

IN ONE OF the few instances the Gemora is (overtly) kabbalistic, it says:

“Rebi Yirmeya ben Elazar said: ‘All those years during which Adam [did teshuvah for his sin], he bore spirits, demons, and female demons’.” (Eiruvin 18b)

It’s a long story, and it requires some background information to be properly understood. The gist is that Adam, as part of his self-imposed purification process, created spiritually damaging creatures, kind of like the pollution that results from making soap. He may have fixed himself up, but these damaged souls required rectification, and that came over the course of several reincarnations and the suffering in Egypt.

The Arizal explains that the part of the souls that remained unrectified eventually returned as the Erev Rav in Egypt. The part that was mostly rectified were born to the Jewish people, and the slavery that followed was to complete that rectification process.

But though the events of rectification may take place down here through human lives, the impact of the rectification is meant to fix up damaged sefiros. They are the spiritual entities through which God causes His light to flow downward in order to create or maintain Creation. When they are damaged, then their ability to give us light is hampered. When they are rectified, so is Creation.

If you think the world today is in serious need of some “repair” work, it is an indication the light is not flowing through the sefiros to us as it should. Torah and mitzvos fix that, but Egypt was before we had received them. That meant the third option by default, which is suffering. Hence, “The exile was only supposed to last for 210 years, the number of 10 [Eheyehs], because that was the basis of the blemish [they needed to rectify].”

But that doesn’t answer the original question which was, why does the Torah say that the exodus took place after 430 years, and not 400 years, or 210 years? Yetzias Mitzrayim occurred in 2448 from Creation, so 430 years back was 2018, the year of the Bris Ben HaBesarim itself. At that point, God only told Avraham Avinu about what was coming down the line.

Seudas Shlishis

JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE says he is going to do something doesn’t mean that he will. He can want to do something with all of his heart, and even make all the necessary preparations for success. But not being prophets or invincible, humans are vulnerable to the unknown and the unpredictable. “The best-laid plans of mice and men, etc.”

Not God, though. Nothing stands in His way, ever. In fact, since He controls everything, the moment He promises something, it is as if it has already occurred. Furthermore, since God is above time and our future is the present for Him, what has yet to occur for us has already occurred for Him.

Hence, when God gave Avraham the prophecy of the Bris Ben HaBesarim and mentioned the future exile among a stranger nation, it was as if it had already begun as far as God was concerned, even though it had yet to happen as far as we were concerned.

And not just the exile, but the redemption as well. The question is, why tell us that, and now? To teach future generations like ours that, even though redemption seems so far and even impossible from our perspective, it is as if it has already occurred from God’s perspective, since the time He first talked about it thousands of years ago.

To us, redemption may seem like a too-distant reality, but that’s only because we can’t see what waits around the corner, only what is in front of us. But God is already there and has been for the longest time, waiting to finish off this exile and usher in the final redemption. Believe it or not, the darker it seems to get, the truer this becomes. It is always darkest before the dawn.

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Acharis K’Reishis, Part 2

CONTINUING ON WITH the translation of the sefer and the discussion of pekidah, the initial stage of any redemption, it says:

In truth, like the GR”A, they (the Chachamim) explicitly parallel the leaving of the oppression of nations of the final redemption to the pekidah in the time of Koresh in Shir HaShirim Rabbah (Ch. 2:10), [where it says regarding the verse]: “‘My beloved answered me and said to me’ (Shir HaShirim 2:10): ‘answered me’ through Daniel, ‘and said to me’ through Ezra [that is, “through Daniel,” as it says, “since the destruction of Jerusalem seventy years” (Daniel 9:2), “and said to me through Ezra,” who fulfilled the prophecy].”

“What did He (God) say to me? ‘Arise, my beloved, my fair one’ (Shir HaShirim 2:10), ‘For behold, the winter has passed’ (Shir HaShirim 2:11), i.e., the 70 years the Jewish people spent in [Babylonian] exile. ‘The rain is over and gone’ refers to the 52 years from the time of the destruction of the Temple until the kingdom of Kasdim was overthrown [the 52 years from the exile of Tzidkiyahu until the pekidah of Koresh, mentioned above in Ch. 3, based on the Gemora on 145b].

The continuation of the midrash is: “Another [explanation] is, ‘My beloved answered me and said to me’: ‘answered me’ through Eliyahu, ‘and said to me’ through the Melech HaMoshiach. What did he say to me, ‘Arise, my beloved, my fair one and come away.’ Rebi Azariah said, ‘For behold, the winter has passed’ refers to the kingdom (of Kusim) [of Rome] that mislead the world [to sin], etc. ‘The rain is over and gone’ refers to the oppression.”

Thus, the Chachamim paralleled the elucidation regarding the days of Koresh, which refers to the “rain” that ended prior to the completion of the redemption, to the leaving of the oppression of nations, the pekidah of the final redemption. They further elucidate this verse in the Midrash there (Os 11) regarding the redemption from Egypt. “‘For behold, the winter has passed’ refers to the 210 years [they were in Egypt, and] ‘the rain is over and gone’ refers to the oppression. Is not the rain the winter? Rebi Tanchuma said, ‘The main difficulty is the rain, and likewise the main oppression of the Jewish people in Egypt was the 86 years from the time Miriam was born’.” [This is also in Pesikta, (Piska 15, Os 11)].

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Good Shabbos,

Pinchas Winston