The Rebbe says:
1. This weeks Parshah tells us about the beginning of the redemption from our Exile in Egypt. Seven of the Ten Plagues are mentioned in this week’s Parshah, and the Ten Plagues were what caused Pharaoh to let the Jews leave Egypt (actually at the end of the tenth plague Pharaoh chased the Jews out of Egypt).
2. As we said many times, every story in the Torah is written for us to learn a lesson from.
Seemingly the Torah should be called “Chochmah – Wisdom” because the Torah is the wisdom of Hashem? Instead Hashem named the Torah “Torah” which comes from the word “Ho’ra’ah – lesson”. This is because the Torah is deeper then just having great wisdom, it is a guide book for us as to how we should conduct our daily lives in the service of Hashem.
Actually when we say that the Torah is everlasting this is exactly what we mean; the lessons that the Torah has to teach are everlasting, for all times in every generation.
3. Bearing this in mind, there must be lessons we can learn from the stories in the Torah about the redemption from the exile in Egypt.
4. The Rebbe now explains that with regards to the stories in the Torah about the redemption from Egypt there is an additional reason why we should learn out a lesson:
We know that every day we are obligated to remember and mention the redemption from Egypt (see Mishnayos Pesachim, Chapter 10, Mishnah 5). [We mention it twice daily in the “Shema” at the end of the third paragraph, and we say it at the end of the morning prayers in the “Six Remembrances”].
The Alter Rebbe (the first Chabad leader) explains why we are obligated to remember and mention our redemption from Egypt every single day (see Tanya, Chapter 47): There is a spiritual aspect of the redemption from Egypt in our service to Hashem. Every single day we have the ability to leave our “Egypt” (Mitzrayim/Egypt is from the word May’tzah’rim/boundaries) and go to freedom. By mentioning the redemption from Egypt everyday, we are empowered to redeem ourselves from anything holding us back.
Now since there is an aspect of the redemption from Egypt everyday in our lives, the stories in the Torah about the redemption from Egypt must have a special connection to us.
5. What can we learn out from the Torah’s story about (the beginning of) our redemption from Egypt?
6. The Rebbe now points out something very interesting which will be the basis of our learning a lesson:
When Moshe Rabbeinu (our teacher) told the Jews that Hashem said that He was going to redeem them, the Jews did not listen (see Chapter 6, Verse 9).
Now if we take a look at what’s going on here we will find that there are five reasons why the Jews’ stubbornness should have been broken and they should have been inclined to listen to Moshe:
Reason #1) Hashem revealed Himself in a way that He had never revealed Himself before (see the first two verses of this weeks Parshah).
Reason #2) Hashem said four different descriptions of how He would redeem the Jews from Egypt (see Chapter 6, Verses 6 and 7).
Reason #3) The words of Hashem were given over through none other then Moshe Rabbeinu who was the greatest of all Prophets (see Rashi in Chumash Bamidbar, Chapter 30, Verse 2).
Reason #4) Our forefathers were mentioned here (in the second verse of our Parshah) and we know that the mentioning of our forefathers is a great help to accomplish whatever it is you need to accomplish (see Tractate Yoma, Page 28, Side 1 and Tractate Tamid, Page 30, Side 1).
Reason #5) Not only were our forefathers mentioned here, but they were mentioned by Hashem Himself (in the second verse of our Parshah)! This must be an even greater help in accomplishing the mission.
Never-the-less all of this did not break the exile (mindset) and the Jews did not accept the idea of redemption.
What did finally break the stubborn (mindset of) exile? The Ten Plagues.
7. The Rebbe now says that the fact that the Ten Plagues were what broke the (mindset and actual) exile of Egypt is a lesson for us in our daily redemption from Egypt:
However strong the “Egypt” may be by each Jew, he has the power to break through to freedom. How can he do this? By implementing the plagues into his life.
8. The Rebbe now explains how one implements the plagues into his daily life to break through the boundaries that hold him back in his service to Hashem:
The first plague which broke the arrogance of Pharaoh and the pride of the Egyptian people was “Dum – Blood”. The water of the Nile River, which was the source of water for all of Egypt, turned into blood (see Chapter 7, Verses 20 and 21).
The nature of water is to be cold and calm (see Maimonides, Hilchos Yesodei Hatorah, Chapter 4, Halacha 2). Generally speaking, coldness is the opposite of Holiness. This is because Holiness is life and enthusiasm. As it says (in Avos D’Rav Nachman, Chapter 34, Fact 10) “There are ten things that are called life”, the first on the list is Hashem and the other 9 on the list are things connected to Hashem.
What did Hashem do? He turned the water into blood, he turned the coldness of the opposite of life into the warmth of life. In deed this is the first thing Hashem did to break the exile.
This teaches us that the first thing we must do to start our daily redemption in our service to Hashem is break any coldness we may have towards Judaism and Holiness. All opposition against Holiness stems from any coldness we may have and therefore we must first get rid of our coldness. To have a lasting service to Hashem we must have an enthusiastic focus in Jewish/Holy things.
Translated and adapted by Shalom Goldberg. Taken from Likutei Sichos Chelek Aleph, 1st Sicha.