Topic: Consciousness | Posted:January 9, 2013
In this important Torah portion, we have the revelation of the Tetragrammaton, the four letter-Name of God, the Yud-Hei-Vav-Hei. The biblical portion of Va’era, which means “And I appeared,” begins with the Creator’s revelation to Moses, “I am God [Yud, Hei, Vav, and Hei], and I appeared as El Shadai to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This great level of Light [Yud, Hei, Vav, and Hei] was not revealed to Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob, but to you, Moses, I am now revealing this higher level of My Light.”
The Tetragrammaton represents a very high level of revelation and Light of the Creator, while El Shadai represents a lower level. There are discussions among commentators of the Bible as to why the revelation of this Name of God occurred in the portion of Va’era, the portion in which both the Creator promises to bring the Israelites out of slavery, and also unleashes the first seven of the ten plagues released on Egypt.
The Israelites were suffering terribly, and the Zohar says that Moses knew he was capable of revealing much more Light than had been given to him by the Creator. As such, Moses tells the Creator, “I am not satisfied. Whatever You think the process should be, the amount of Light I reveal right now is not enough for me. I want to reveal more.” Moses was not satisfied with only connecting and revealing to the lesser Light; it was not enough for him, he wanted to bring the Redemption sooner. It was, therefore, in response to this request by Moses that the Creator revealed Himself at the level of the Name of Yud, Hei, Vav, and Hei.
Some commentary says the Creator was unhappy with Moses when he complained that things were moving too slowly, which is why, they say, the Creator told Moses, “I want you to know that I have given more to you than I gave to your forefathers.” But according to the Zohar, the Creator was not upset, for He knew that the impatience of Moses was achieving a great benefit for the Israelites. By demanding more of the Creator, Moses pushed Him to reveal a higher level of His Light, and by so doing, accelerated the timetable for the Redemption.
This shows us that each year, the Shabbat of Va’era marks the time when we can say to the Creator that we are not willing to accept the pace of the unfolding process towards Redemption and Mashiach as it is. This is the time when we can tell the Creator that while we know His plan is for the Redemption to happen gradually, we want it now. We draw from the strength of Moses when we say we do not accept the Creator’s current process. In fact, to the degree in which we truly do not accept the process, to that same degree Moses reveals extra strength to us, giving us the ability to bring the process of Redemption from Exile sooner.
With regards to the Exile, there is much commentary as to when it actually began. We know that it was supposed to last 400 years, but we can assign the beginning of it to different times in history. We can say the Exile began with Isaac, for example, or that it began with God’s Covenant with Abraham, or that it began later when Jacob entered into the land of Egypt. However, by not accepting a slow process and pushing for a quicker and greater revelation, what Moses did in the portion of Va’era was to make it so that the start date of the Exile was God’s Covenant with Abraham, and by so doing, make the Redemption come sooner.
This teaching shows us that although the Creator may have originally intended the Exile and path to Redemption from Egypt to be long and very difficult, the Light of the Tetragrammaton - the Yud, Hei, Vav, Hei - was completely revealed to Moses because he was not prepared to accept this long and difficult outcome. If Moses had not pushed for this Light, who knows what would have happened… who knows how long the exile in Egypt might have lasted? Moses said that there are always two pathways in every exile: There is be’ita - the process where Mashiach will come at the allotted time, and there is achishena, which makes Mashiach come sooner. We, on this Shabbat, can tap into achishena and make the Mashiach, the Redemption, come sooner.
Moses comes back to us each year on the Shabbat of Va’era and tells us to remember that we have the power to say “no” to the pace of the Creator’s process. In this portion, with the revelation of the Tetragrammaton, we learn the great secret that we can only partake of this Light, we can only awaken the strength of Moses, if we do not accept the rate of the current process toward Mashiach. This Shabbat, if we use the tremendous opportunity we were given, we can all, Bzrat hashem, speed up the arrival of Redemption.