The Sixties Radical-Azriel

G-d does have a set of instructions. It is up to me to do them.

“The first of the ten plagues was the transformation of cold river water into warm blood, signifying the transformation of cold indifference toward Divinity into warm enthusiasm for it. This had to be the first of the plagues, because indifference would have prevented the Egyptians from being affected by any further demonstrations of G‑d’s power and involvement in life.

A similar lesson applies to anyone striving to leave the slavery of their inner “Egypt” – the tyranny of their material drives and not-yet-refined bodily desires. Our first step in this process is to replace any cold indifference to all things Jewish and holy with warm, passionate enthusiasm for G‑d, His Torah, and His commandments.1 Likutei Sichot, vol. 1, p. 121.

As G‑d instructed them, Moses and Aaron presented themselves before Pharaoh and his court, demanding that he release the Jews from slavery. Pharaoh requested proof that they were indeed sent by G‑d. As G‑d had instructed him to, Moses told Aaron to cast his staff to the ground, transforming it into a serpent. But Pharaoh was unimpressed by this marvel since his sorcerers were also able to do it. So G‑d told Moses to transform the Nile River’s water into blood, as the first of the ten plagues.

[G‑d instructed Moses to tell Pharaoh,] “I am now going to strike the water in the river with the staff in my hand, and it will turn into blood.” Exodus 7:17

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Some more things to think about from the Daily Wisdom of the Torah. “Moses was the transmitter of the Torah that he received from G‑d. The “Moses” aspect of our lives is thus the study of G‑d’s Torah and the performance of His commandments. Aaron was the first high priest. The “Aaron” aspect of our lives is thus prayer, for prayer reaches up to G‑d as did the sacrifices that were offered up by the priests.

The Torah sometimes mentions Moses before Aaron and sometimes mentions Aaron before Moses. This teaches us that sometimes we need to first study the Torah or fulfill some commandment in order to properly relate to G‑d in prayer. At other times, we might need to connect to G‑d through prayer before studying the Torah or fulfilling its commandments, in order to study or act in selfless devotion to G‑d.1 Likutei Torah 3:88c.

The Torah then reviews the lineage of Moses and Aaron, for their lineage was an important factor contributing to the Jewish people’s acceptance of them as leaders.

These are Aaron and Moses. Exodus 6:26

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There is a quiet happiness: an inner sense of bliss, the innocent joy of a small child, one of wonderment and gratitude. It is a happiness to carry with you at all times.

Then there are those seasons when happiness blooms for all to see, bursting out in song, in dance, in celebration. A festival, a wedding, a time to feast and rejoice with family and friends.

But the ultimate happiness is the joy of Purim. It is no longer about you, your family, your life. It is about making others laugh, bringing smiles to the weary, celebration to those who feel abandoned, a feast to those who had lost all hope.

It is a season for breaking out of yourself, out of your character, out of all those bounds you have set for yourself—“beyond knowing.”

The light of Purim knows no bounds.

Likkutei Sichot, vol. 16, p. 371.

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It is okay to ask G-d questions. I should always believe in G-d’s redemption, kindness, and goodness. It is plain and simple as that. Hard? Yes? Easy? No!

Yet this is a must if I want to help bring the Messianic Redemption.

At the end of the previous section, Moses was troubled by the seeming contradiction between his faith in G‑d’s goodness and G‑d’s apparent mistreatment of the Jewish people. G‑d therefore told Moses: “You must learn from the patriarchs and matriarchs. They believed in Me unquestioningly, even though I made promises to them that I did not fulfill during their lifetimes.”

G‑d spoke to Moses, saying to him, “I am G‑d. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Exodus 6:2-3

When it appears to us that something is wrong in the way G‑d runs the world, G‑d wants us to question Him. But at the same time, we must continue to believe absolutely in G‑d’s reality and goodness.

From where can we draw the power to believe in G‑d so thoroughly that we virtually see Him even in the darkest moments of exile? G‑d answers this question by saying, “I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” The patriarchs and matriarchs possessed this unshakable faith, and we inherit it from them. If we nurture it properly, we, too, will “see” G‑d even when His goodness is not readily apparent.

This faith enables us to live out the final moments of our exile yearning for its end – and demanding it! – while maximizing our use of its remaining moments. In this merit, we will hasten the Messianic Redemption.1 Hitva’aduyot 5743, vol. 2, pp. 823–830.

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Think about this for a minute. “Deep down, Moses was not questioning G‑d’s justice, but was just seeking to understand it. Moses and the Jewish people had inherited their faith in G‑d from the patriarchs and matriarchs. This faith was indeed very strong, but in order to be redeemed from Egypt and receive the Torah, it was not enough for their relationship with G‑d to be an inheritance from their ancestors; they had to make it their own. Only when a person internalizes his faith and makes it his own can it permeate his whole being.

Ironically, the way we transform our inherited faith into our own possession is by questioning it – not out of doubt or for the mere sake of questioning, but in order to truly understand it.

Thus, in response to Moses’ desire to understand G‑d’s ways, G‑d told him that the purpose of the exile was to enable the people to reach an even higher level of Divine consciousness than they could by relying solely on their inheritance from the patriarchs.1 Likutei Sichot, vol. 16, p. 51.

Moses took leave of Jethro and set out for Egypt. As G‑d had predicted, when Moses demanded that Pharaoh release the Jews, even for three days, Pharaoh refused. Instead, Pharaoh ordered that the Jews no longer be supplied with straw to make into bricks; they would have to produce the same daily quota of bricks but gather the necessary straw themselves. The Jews complained to Moses; feeling the Jews’ suffering, Moses asked G‑d why He had sent him on this mission if this was the result.

Moses returned to G d and said, “G‑d, why have You mistreated this people?” Exodus 5:22

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True happiness is the highest form of self-sacrifice. There, in that state, there is no sense of self —not even awareness that you are happy.

True happiness is somewhere beyond “knowing.” Beyond self.

All the more so when you bring joy to others.

Likutei Sichot vol. 16, pp. 365–372.

The Sixties Radical-Azriel

There is a place—the “fiftieth gate,” they call it—so high that all things are equally nothing from there. There is no good, no evil, nothing can be added or taken away, the righteous are dust, the wicked are dust, nothing is of consequence, all is but dust.

Drunk with the joy of Purim, a Jew travels higher and higher until he reaches that place. And there he proclaims that the oppressed have been saved; the wicked overthrown; and light, joy, happiness and peace rule throughout the universe.

“As for this high place,” he declares, “I am not impressed. It too was created for the purpose of our joy below!”

Its secret exposed, the fiftieth gate itself is redeemed.

Purim 5713

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