With the name 'Havaya' [the Tetragrammaton] Moses was able to perform miracles that shattered the laws of nature, convincing the Egyptians (but not their king), that here they were dealing with a new and higher G‑dly phenomena, previously unknown to man.

...in order to deserve such a revelation, the Jews had to undergo special spiritual refinement.

But in order to deserve such a revelation, the Jews had to undergo special spiritual refinement.

Shem miShmuel explains that by understanding G‑d as E-l Shaddai, the forefathers were able to work within the realm of nature, performing silent miracles that made the presence of G‑d as Creator and Master of the Universe more evident. However, G‑d wanted more at this time in history. Since He is above nature and independent of nature, He wanted His people to be able to demonstrate His full qualities to the world. In order to do so, G‑d had to introduce His essential name, which most fully brings the level of transcendent G‑dliness into expression in the world, and for that the Jews had to elevate themselves to a higher level.

It's one thing to work within nature. It's another thing completely to bring down levels of G‑dliness that tear nature asunder and makes clear who really is the Master of the Universe.

Up until Moses came upon the scene, their trials elevated the Jews to the level of E - l Shaddai (miracles within nature). But, in order to operate on the level of 'Havaya', (miracles transcending nature), the Jews needed the added refinement of "complete nullification." They needed to reach a spiritual level on which they had no awareness of themselves whatsoever. That was the purpose of the extra work that Pharaoh put on them. Only when they had not time to think of themselves, could they receive the higher, essential revelation that came with the name 'Havaya'. Only when they put their egos aside entirely, could they merit the revelation of G‑dliness in its essential form, above and beyond nature.

That's why the redemption couldn't come smoothly, with Moses simply going to talk to Pharaoh. When a new light comes into the universe, shining down from an incomparable high place, the world has to adjust to it. It took some additional work on the part of the Jews to make themselves and the world ready.

...we all have the powers of angels who are under the sway of natural forces.

All of us have powers within that equal those of the Jews of Egypt who permanently changed the face of the earth. Indeed, Shem miShmuel points out that at the very least, we all have the powers of angels who are under the sway of natural forces. With our actions, we control those powers. A good deed on our part activates a "good angel" Above, and a bad deed can bring negative consequences. It's a little like using our muscles – by contracting certain ones, we automatically extend others; and by restraining certain muscle groups, we bring others to the fore. So it is with the laws of nature; they are all interconnected.

But, by learning Torah and fulfilling its commandments, we bring down upon ourselves the essential name of G‑d, 'Havaya', and then we have a power beyond our own natural abilities. That is the power that makes us into a nation of priest and prophets – and G‑d willing a "light unto the nations," as the Prophet Isaiah foretold.

[From "Inner Lights from Jerusalem" based on the Shem miShmuel and other Chassidic and Kabalistic Sources, translated and presented by Rabbi David Sterne]