1. This week’s Torah reading, Parshas Bo, relates how the Jewish people were redeemed from Egypt, as it is written “And on that selfsame day, all the hosts of G‑d left the land of Egypt.” The potential for this exodus was generated by G‑d’s command to Moshe which is mentioned at the beginning of the Torah reading, “Come to Pharaoh.”1

The Zohar explains that there is also a positive dimension to Pharaoh, “the source for the revelation of all lights.” Furthermore, the word that phrase uses for “revelation,” ispariyu has the connotation of wildness, referring to an unbounded revelation that cannot be contained.2 Because in his source, Pharaoh represented such an elevated potential, his expression in this world expressed power in a fallen state.

In a different place, the Zohar relates that Moshe was apprehensive about approaching Pharaoh because Pharaoh represented the source of all evil. Therefore, it was necessary for G‑d to tell Moshe, “Come,” i.e., “Come with Me, I will accompany you.” Similarly, it can be explained that contemplating the essential nature of the counterpart of Pharaoh in holiness cast fear and awe upon Moshe. How could he, a limited human approach the essence of G‑d? Accordingly, he needed the reassurance that G‑d would accompany him and facilitate this fusion of limitation and infinity.

Such a fusion is possible only because of G‑d’s essence. Nevertheless, since the light from G‑d’s essence is connected with its source and reveals its source, it draws down the potential for the fusion of opposites to all levels, even to this physical world. And thus, Moshe as he exists, a soul enclothed in a body, could receive the revelation of these infinite levels of G‑dliness.

The above concepts can be understood within the context of the ultimate goal of the exodus from Egypt, the giving of the Torah as it is written, “When you take the people out of Egypt, you will serve G‑d on this mountain.” The ultimate goal of the Torah is to allow for the fulfillment of G‑d’s desire to have a dwelling in the lower worlds. Just as it is in a person’s home that his personality finds expression without restraint or inhibition, it will be in this world, G‑d’s dwelling place, that G‑dliness will be revealed without restraint.

Before the giving of the Torah, there was a decree preventing the spiritual from descending to the physical and the physical from ascending to the spiritual. When G‑d gave the Torah, He nullified this decree, making possible the revelation of the spiritual — and indeed, His very essence, the highest level of spirituality possible — within this world and conversely, the transformation of the material dimensions of this world into articles of holiness. In the fullest sense, this fusion of finiteness and infinity is revealed in the physical person of a Jew, in the union of his body and soul, for “Israel and the Holy One, blessed be He, are all one.” Since this fusion was the ultimate goal of the exodus, it was reflected in G‑d’s command to Moshe, “Come to Pharaoh,” which served as the catalyst for the redemption.

A similar concept is expressed at the very outset of the Torah’s description of G‑d’s selection of Moshe as the redeemer. Moshe protested, “I am not a man of speech... I am slow-tongued.... Send by means of who You will send.” The commentaries explain that Moshe’s speech defect was representative of the spiritual state of the world. Speech, representative of the Sefirah of Malchus, was in exile and Moshe was unable to awaken this potential. Therefore, he maintained, he was not fitting to bring about the redemption.

From another perspective, in Chassidic thought, it is explained that Moshe’s speech defect stemmed from the fact that his spiritual level — which had its source in the transcendent realm of Tohu — was too high to enclothe itself within the confines of our world; it was impossible for the lights to be enclothed within the vessels. Therefore, he asked G‑d to chose an agent who was capable of internalizing and transmitting revelation within the context of our limited world.

G‑d replied to him, “Who gave man a mouth.... I am G‑d.... I will be with your mouth and direct what you say.” G‑d’s essence possesses the potential to fuse opposites as explained above. Therefore, although Moshe as he exists within his own individual context could not awaken the potential of speech, because “I will be with your mouth,” G‑d’s influence generated the potential for the transcendent revelations of Tohu to be revealed within the finite context of our world. Thus, Moshe’s protest can be understood as being intended at bringing about the fusion of finiteness and infinity associated with the giving of the Torah.3

In this context, we can appreciate Moshe’s apprehension before his confrontation with Pharaoh, “the source for the revelation of all lights.” From his own perspective, Moshe was unable to internalize and transmit transcendent revelation within the context of this world — and such a transmission was necessary for the Redemption from Egypt. Therefore, he needed G‑d to “come with him,” and to reveal the essential potential to fuse opposites. Such a revelation in turn makes possible the revelation of how our material world, and more particularly, the physical body of a Jew, can be a dwelling place for G‑d.

The fusion of finiteness and infinity experienced by Moshe4 became a source of influence leading to a similar fusion to be experienced by the Jewish people at the giving of the Torah.5 This is emphasized by G‑d’s statements “You will be unto Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation,” i.e., even as the Jews exist within the context of this physical world, they will be holy.

Furthermore, the Rabbis associate the expression “kingdom of priests” with the level of High Priest. A High Priest had to be physically healthy without a blemish and wealthy. This indicates the potential for the Jewish people to achieve well-being and prosperity in material terms and still be one with G‑d. The ultimate expression of this fusion will be in the Era of the Resurrection when all the souls of the Jewish people will be enclothed in bodies.6 Indeed, at that time, the soul will derive its nurture from the body.

Based on the above, we can understand why the Torah places such a heavy emphasis on the Jewish people “borrowing” from the Egyptians “utensils of gold, utensils of silver, and garments” and why G‑d performed a special miracle and granted the Jews favor in the eyes of the Egyptians. On the surface, rather than stay one extra moment in exile, they should have left immediately.7 Since, however, the intent is the establishment of a dwelling for G‑d in the lower worlds, the fullest conception of this comes when the dwelling is established within the context of those worlds. And this comes, not through breaking the order of natural existence8 — taking the wealth against the Egyptians’ will — but rather, through its transformation — that the Egyptians give their wealth to the Jews willingly.

Nevertheless, the redemption from Egypt did not represent a complete transformation of the material nature of the world. For this reason, it was necessary for the Jews to “flee” from Egypt.9 In contrast, before the ultimate Redemption, our material environment will be refined and therefore “you will not leave in haste, nor will you take flight.” Since “I will cause the spirit of impurity to depart from the earth,” the Jews will approach the Redemption with eagerness, but they will not be pressured by the constraints of this world. Instead, from a state of prosperity experienced within the context of this world, they will proceed to the ultimate well-being and eternal life of the Era of the Redemption.

2. The above concepts are relevant to the commemoration of the yahrzeit of the Previous Rebbe on Yud Shvat in the coming week. For the Previous Rebbe is the Moshe of our generation and our generation, “the last generation of the exile and the first generation of the Redemption,” is a reincarnation of the generation of the exodus.

Furthermore, in our generation, we have seen a great increase in the efforts to transform the material environment of the world. This is reflected in the efforts to spread the wellsprings of Yiddishkeit and Chassidus outward, the printing of many sacred Jewish texts, and the spreading of the observance of the seven universal laws commanded to Noach and his descendants.

And this has had an effect on the world at large. The nations of the world are granting support to the Jews and assisting their observance of the Torah and its mitzvos. Even Russia which for years oppressed the Jewish people and prevented their emigration is now enabling the Jews to conduct their lives as they desire. Moreover, not only are they allowing the Jews to emigrate, they are even assisting them in doing so.

We are at the pinnacle of Jewish history, the time most appropriate for the Redemption to come. And the coming of the Redemption will be further hastened by the commemoration of Yud Shvat, by holding farbrengens in connection with that date, by studying the Previous Rebbe’s teachings, and dedicating ourselves to the activities he promulgated. And this will hasten the fulfillment of the prophecy “Those that lie in the dust will arise and sing,” at which time we will emerge from the exile and proceed to Eretz Yisrael, to Jerusalem, and to the Third Beis HaMikdash.

Themes which the Rebbe Shlita developed in this farbrengen were also presented in the essays entitled “A Lifetime Renewed” and “Women, Partners in the Dynamic of Creation.”