Pearls of Rashi – The Last Days of Pesach

This evening, we will celebrate the seventh day of Pesach. This was the time that the Jews passed through the Red (Reed) Sea which Hashem had miraculously split. After being saved from the Egyptians, the Torah tells us that Moshe urged the Jews to leave the Red Sea. It says that[1] “Moshe led the Jews away from the Red Sea.”

The Hebrew words translated as “Moshe led the Jews away,” literally means that Moshe caused them to travel away from the Red Sea. Why did Moshe need to cause the Jews to travel? Rashi cites the words “Moshe led the Jews away,” and explains that “He led them away against their will. The Egyptians had ‘crowned’ their steeds with ornaments of gold, silver, and precious stones, and the Jews were finding them in the sea. The plunder at the sea was greater than the plunder in Egypt, as it is written[2], ‘We will make you rows of gold with studs of silver.’ Therefore, he had to lead them against their will.”

We need to understand just why it was so important for the Jews to take all of the wealth of Egypt. Why did Moshe need to lead them against their will? This can be understood according to a deeper explanation of Torah. Hashem created the world because[3] “He desired to have a dwelling place below.” One’s dwelling place, his home, is where his complete essence is revealed. Hashem wanted this to specifically be below, i.e. in a physical world. It somewhere that His presence is not obvious. Nevertheless, it should be revealed throughout this entire world.

Egypt was a place of evil. Its Hebrew name is Mitzrayim, which connotes limitations, as contrasted to the totally unlimited G-d. Egypt was also called “the abomination of the earth,” being the center of hedonism in the world. The idea of “emptying Egypt” was to take away their wealth, and to give it to the Jews. It was to be transferred to the Jews, who were on the way to receive the Torah and build the Tabernacle, a sanctuary where Hashem would be revealed in this world. In this manner, the wealth which was originally used for immoral purposes would be used in order to create a world in which the Hashem will be “at home.”

We must all use everything we have for Torah and Mitzvos; in this manner we will prepare the world for the complete redemption now!

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos and a happy Pesach!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 21, Page 83

Mr. Sholom Moshe Hacohen
ben Reb Shlomo Meir Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach, 13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
ר’ שלום משה הכהן בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
יו”ל ע”י בני משפחתו שיחיו

[1]. Parshas Beshalach, Shemos 15:22.

[2]. Shir Hashirim, 1, 11.

[3]. See the Midrash Tanchumah Parshas Naso Chapter 16. See also Tanya at the beginning of Chapter 36.

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