The ten plagues have a message for us today. Let us take the Ninth plague, Darkness, which is in our Torah reading.

There were three days of "thick darkness." According to the Midrash, the Egyptians could not see, nor even move. However, for the Jewish people it was different: they had light wherever they lived.1

The Sages discuss this idea. Does it mean that the darkness did not affect the specific area where the Jewish people dwelt, the Land of Goshen? Or does it mean, more mysteriously, that for a Jew, even in the Egyptian areas, there was light in the darkness?

As explained by the Rebbe, these two opinions relate to our view of the world. One view is that there is a deep separation between the holy (the Jewish area) and the unholy (the idols of Egypt). In the holy realm it was light; in the unholy realm it was dark.

The second view is that the Jew in Egypt had the power to bring light to the realm of the unholy. Even in the Egyptian areas, where there was frighteningly thick darkness, the Jew could see. Ultimately the Jewish light within the darkness will be visible to all.

This relates to our role in the world. The Jew enters a realm of spiritual darkness, yet he or she has the power to bring light into that darkness, to illuminate the homes of the "Egyptians," of the apparently secular and materialistic world. This freedom is not just for ourselves. We have the power of light in the darkness of Egypt so that we can bring light to the whole world — the light of Redemption.2