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Inside the Monster

Inside the Monster

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Once upon a time there was a small village nestled in a valley in the shadow of a mountain haunted by an evil giant. Each morning the people in the village would wake up and start to run for their lives. But no matter how far they ran, the terrifying figure still loomed above their heads, glowering and threatening.

One day, a wise and courageous man came to the village. Instead of running away, he started climbing up the mountain. The people were afraid, but they trusted in him and followed him. He led them to the very feet of the giant, opened a secret door in the monster's big toe, took them up a winding passageway to its belly, and showed them how the thing works: the pulleys that move the thundering arms, the noise machine that produces the terrifying yells. Then he yanked a few wires out of their casings, and the whole thing disintegrated to dust.


The puzzling thing is that by the time we get to the Torah reading of Bo (Exodus 10-13), we've spent the first nine chapters of the Book of Exodus trying to get away from Pharaoh. "Let My people go!" Moses repeatedly demands from the Egyptian sovereign in the name of G‑d; each time he's rebuffed, only to be sent back with another "Let My people go" message from G‑d and another Divine promise that His people will, indeed, be able to go in the end.

What's puzzling is that the name "Bo" means "Come" and the Torah reading is so named after the phrase "come to Pharaoh" in its opening verse. A strange name indeed for the Parshah in which the long-awaited Yetziat Mitzrayim ("Going Out of Egypt," or "Exodus" in the Greek) of the Israelites finally takes place.

(The names of the Torah's 54 Parshahs always derive from a word or phrase in the Parshah's opening words. But it also always works out that this name expresses the theme and central significance of the Parshah. So it's certainly puzzling that the Parshah in which we finally get away from Pharaoh should be named "Come [to Pharaoh]"...)

But sometimes the only way to get out is to come deeper in. The Zohar explains that the Divine command "Come to Pharaoh" was an invitation to enter into the very essence of Pharaoh. "G‑d brought Moses into a chamber within a chamber, to the... supernal and mighty serpent from which many levels evolve..."

As long as we view it from the outside, the evil giant on the mountain will remain big, bad and terrifying — no matter how far we run. But as soon as we subject it to the light of inner knowledge, the whole thing disintegrates to dust.

By Yanki Tauber; based on the teachings of the Rebbe.
Sefira Ross is a freelance designer and illustrator whose original creations grace many Chabad.org pages. Residing in Seattle, Washington, her days are spent between multitasking illustrations and being a mom.
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Moshe Borowski Far Rockaway January 15, 2018

R. Tauber- beautiful thought, a fundamental key to life. Thank you for framing it so beautifully. in a secular sense, "the great and powerful Oz," upon his unveiling, beseeches his visitors: "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain." At times, smoke + mirrors appear to reign supreme. The battle for clarity is to see that Oz, Pharoah, and all other pretenders to the throne, are really, upon further analysis, powerless.

Keep fighting the good fight and spreading light and clarity wherever you go! Reply

Anonymous Brooklyn, NY January 24, 2007

We all have demons to exercise in our lives! All of us have monsters and dybuks to exercise from our lives. I have wounds from my divorce, a broken shidduch, and guilt from these relationships gone wrong! This article helps us heal from our private demons. Thanks for the Refuah of our heart! Reply

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