After the plague of darkness, Pharaoh agreed to send forth the Jewish people – but on his own terms. When Moses refused these terms, Pharaoh reneged and angrily sent Moses away.
The Lust for Power
וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ פַרְעֹה לֵךְ מֵעָלָי . . . כִּי בְּיוֹם רְאֹתְךָ פָנַי תָּמוּת: וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה כֵּן דִּבַּרְתָּ וגו': (שמות י:כח–כט)
Pharaoh said [to Moses], “Leave my presence! The day you see my face you will die!” Moses replied, “You have spoken rightly.” Exodus 10:28-29

Every evil thing is really a “fallen” version – i.e., a distortion – of some form of holiness. Pharaoh was the fallen expression of G‑d’s ability to override the limits of nature. In its fallen form, this power turned into Pharaoh’s arrogant disregard of any authority other than his own. In this context, when Pharaoh told Moses that “the day you see my face you will die,” he was (unknowingly) warning Moses that no one can behold G‑d’s infinity and live. Moses agreed: no finite, created being can experience G‑d’s infinity and continue existing as a finite being; he will be absorbed by the experience and “dissolve” into G‑d’s infinity.

However, G‑d is not bound by His own rules; He can allow an individual to “survive” this experience. This is exactly what He did with Moses, in order to allow him to destroy Pharaoh’s evil by revealing G‑d’s supernatural power through the plagues.

We all have our inner “Pharaoh,” i.e., some stubborn opposition or hostility to holiness. When this “Pharaoh” is vanquished, the other obstacles toward living a positive, healthy life will follow suit.1