The traditional story of Passover tells of slavery, exile, and eventual freedom for the Israelites from the land of Egypt. Traditionally, this slavery has been depicted as brutally hard work under slashing whips, with an abundance of blood, sweat, and tears. The ancient Kabbalists, however, brought to light some interesting facts that have largely been overlooked by Rabbis, Priests, Ministers, Popes and scholars alike.
On the literal level, the Passover story tells us that the Israelites were in bondage in Egypt for 400 years. They were slaves and the sons of slaves—captives of the hard-hearted Pharaoh, ruler of Egypt.
Then there came a great leader named Moses. On a mission from God, Moses won freedom for his people. He then led them on a long and arduous journey, including that famous detour through the Red Sea. Eventually they arrived at Mount Sinai, where they had a date with destiny.
But here’s the interesting part: The Israelites are tasting freedom for the first time in centuries, yet they begin whining and complaining and moaning like ingrates the moment it gets a little hot and dry in the desert. They even beg Moses to take them back to Egypt! They even accuse Moses of trying to murder them.
Are we to believe the Israelites actually had it pretty good in Egypt? Was life in the desert worse than slavery in Egypt?
Something isn’t right here. The literal story doesn’t make sense. Why, year after year, are we supposed to recount this questionable story at the holiday known has Passover?
And what about the slavery of other peoples throughout history? Are to assume only the Israelites had a rough going of history whereas life was a picnic and walk in the park and a leisurely stroll on the beach for other peoples?
The revered Kabbalist known as The Ari (Rav Isaac Luria) saw these same discrepancies; he asked the same questions by probing into the Holy and Sacred Zohar, a book that brings Light to all nations and all peoples. What follows are some very illuminating answers from the Ari and the Zohar.
UNRAVELING THE CODE
The Ari revealed that the entire biblical story is a code. Egypt is a code word for the human ego. Egypt is a metaphor for humanity’s incessantly reactive, self-seeking nature. Any aspect of our nature that controls us is Egypt.
So forget about blaming the ancient Egyptians or the Arabs and Muslims today for our problems.
No other person is our problem or our taskmaster.
It is our ego, plain and simple, that the Bible and the Zohar are referring to when discussing “Egypt.”
The human ego’s control and influence over us is the oldest master-slave relationship in Creation. And all of mankind — not just the Israelites — are enslaved to this negative force called ego.
Ego is nourished two ways:
1. We feed it. How? Our egocentric actions draw instant gratification. Every time we listen and succumb to the temptations of ego, we get a momentary hit and rush of energy, and the ego captures the Light of the Creator that was destined for ourselves PROVIDED we resisted the ego. This is how the game of life works. So every time we react to ego, we strengthen it and we lose our destined energy and Light from the Creator.
2. There is a global force of darkness that incites our reactive behavior. Our collective individual egos also nourish the global dark force. The global force causes earthquakes, tsunamis, Ebola viruses, pandemics, hurricanes and other “natural” disasters. The individual ego is what causes problems in business, in marriage, personal health, our emotional well-being and all our fears, worries and anxieties. And most important the individual ego is what causes our doubt, cynicism and skepticism about everything I just wrote. Especially the idea of a global dark force. This is how it exists and continues to exist. Doubt in our minds is its very survival strategy.
Ego and slavery take many practical forms:
- We’re imprisoned by the ego-based aspects of our material existence.
- We’re held in bondage by our reactive whims and egocentric desires.
- We’re enslaved by our reckless impulses.
- We’re held captive by our careers, jobs, and shallow relationships.
- We’re prisoners to other people’s perceptions of us.
- We’re incarcerated by our ego’s need for other people’s acceptance.
- We’re hostages to our constant need to outdo and one-up our friends.
Our ego is our true taskmaster—and the ego is so good at doing its job, most of us don’t even realize we are in bondage.
We want to start dieting, but we delay it. Ego.
We want to work out and exercise, but we put it off and get fatter. Ego.
We want to stop smoking, screaming and verbally abusing others. But we can’t. We don’t have the willpower. Ego.
It controls us.
The only way to gain freedom from its overpowering influence is Passover. Period.
You can deny it and the ego will love you.
You can not believe it, and the ego will tickle you and make you feel smarter than everyone else.
The global dark force has turned Passover into a tradition and a time for a family get together (where we usually argue with our family members) instead of it being the most powerful technology and tool to free ourselves from death itself. Can you imagine? We are blind to the power of Passover and we talk business or keep traditions or we ignore it altogether and we are suffering and dying because of this.
Passover done incorrectly without an understanding and without the technology and tools of Kabbalah to activate it, becomes a spiritually empty experience delivering zero results. The last 2000 years of global suffering is proof of this. Passover has done nothing to change the world.
Yet the secrets of Passover have been hidden in the Zohar all this time.
As long as they were slaves in Egypt, the Israelites were not accountable or responsible for their own lives. They could remain victims. If any chaos fell upon them, they did not have to accept blame. It’s much easier to be a victim—a slave—than to accept responsibility for life’s problems.
Boy do we love being a victim. It’s absolutely delicious and delightful. We draw so much energy whining and complaining and feeling sorry for ourselves, especially when we sucker enough people to listen and sympathize with our situation. The problem is, the energy we receive is temporary. It’s one step forward, two steps backwards. We make our situation worse when we complain.
This victim mindset was the real slavery in Egypt. The exodus of the Israelites led to genuine freedom and control over their own fate. But with freedom comes responsibility, and that was an uncomfortable prospect. We hate being responsible. I know I do. It takes an effort to become responsible. Victim-hood is like superglue. It’s hard to scrape it off once it dries and sticks to you.
This is the spiritual meaning behind the sudden complaints of the Israelites and their desire to return to Egypt. It was much easier for the Israelites to be slaves and victims, and to blame everything on the Egyptians. That way, all negative events were simply “beyond our control.”
But the reality is this: No event is beyond our control. However, our reactive nature blinds us to this opportunity for freedom and the secret of responsibility. All of a sudden, we are challenged to look in the mirror and blame ourselves for the chaos and hardship that befalls us. And to some extent, we must accept responsibility for the rest of the pain in the world as well.
If we can accept this responsibility (and it ain’t easy) we can then harness the raw power of genuine freedom and control over the cosmos and place it in the palm of our hand. When we become the absolute cause of all our problems, we are now able to become the absolute cause of our solution.
The rituals connected to Passover are the cable, the technology s by which spiritual current reaches our lives. It’s broadband technology on a spiritual fiber optic cable, downloading intense energy of freedom into our lives.. Let’s examine the inner spiritual significance behind some of the more common concepts of Passover.
ABSTAINING FROM BREAD
During the Eight Days of Passover, bread is replaced by Matzah.
Probably 95% of people who have been “observing the tradition” of Passover have no clue whatsoever about the genius technology and power that this simple food represents. Most people poke fun at Matzah and there are countless jokes made about the whole period of Passover.
Once again, the ego is merely sabotaging us and keeping death and pain and suffering alive for all the world and for ourselves.
The Kabbalists teach us that bread is an all-powerful tool. Bread is like an antenna for transmitting spiritual energy—this is why bread is incorporated into the rituals of so many religions.
Kabbalah teaches that bread is also linked metaphysically to the human ego. Just as bread has the power to expand and rise, our ego has the ability to rise and expand.
BREAD WITHOUT EGO
Matzah is bread without ego consciousness. It’s bread whose selfish nature has been shut down and eradicated. By eating Matzah with the proper Kabbalistic meditation and intent, we receive the power to shut down our own ego. In this way, we can free ourselves from slavery and rise to great spiritual heights.
If we eat Matzah because our fathers ate Matzah and our grandfather’s ate Matzah and we want to preserve a tradition, all we will capture are calories. It becomes a useless, fruitless cracker.
If we understand what it really is, if we defeat our cynicism and grasp a bit of the utterly genius mechanisms and designs underlying the manufacturing of this food technology, we unleash the power of healing, the power of freedom, and the power of absolute immortal existence by destroying the very source of the angel of death– the global and individual ego.
Bread also attracts overwhelming energy into the home. For this reason, not even one crumb is permitted during Passover, when this energy infusion reaches ultra-high intensities. Consider this example: You’re driving a car at 30 mph. If you roll down the window, the air-pressure change in the automobile is minimal. You can still control the vehicle without any trouble. Suppose you’re flying in a 747 jet airliner. You know what? Even the tiniest crack in a window will set the plane careening out of control and into disaster!
During Passover we are like flying at the speed of Light—that’s how intense the Light of freedom is. The ego is so strong, so magnificent in its raw power and influence, it takes an unimaginable infusion of Light to free us from its clutches. Especially that skepticism.
Even the tiniest speck of bread in your system will send you and your reactive behavior on a wild collision course with chaos throughout the year.
Scientists and Kabbalists agree that reality consists of ten dimensions, each of which is expressed in our own spiritual make-up. In other words, our ego and our dark impulses encompass ten grades of negativity.
The biblical story speaks of Ten Plagues that were unleashed upon Egypt. The ancient Kabbalah explained that this really means that ten blasts of energy were required to wipe out the ten levels of negativity that dwell within our human nature. Once the ten levels are eradicated, we achieve genuine freedom from the ego and the self.
All the compelling secrets and mysteries behind the rituals of Passover are fully revealed in the Kabbalah English Passover Hagaddah.
According to the Hebrew calendar, the night of Passover opens a unique window of opportunity in the universe. The prison door is suddenly unlocked. We have the chance to escape and flee the prison of our ego, our fear, and our insecurities.
This opening was actually created some 3,400 years ago when the Israelites were freed from slavery on this very same date.
The freedom that appeared in Egypt was for one purpose—to create a reservoir of energy for all future generations, so that we could access the power of freedom in our own lives.
Modern physics tells us that energy never dissipates. The same spiritual energy of freedom returns every year on Passover night.
Time is like a revolving wheel. The freedom that became available 3,000 years ago in Egypt comes around again on this exact date. Events do not pass us by like a one-way freight train. We move through the wheel of time as it spins, revisiting the same moments each year. The only things that change are the “set decorations” that give us the illusion of a new year and a different life.
May we all wake up and see how the ego has pulled the wool over the eyes of the world, a world caught up in the materialism that brings instant gratification coupled with long-term pain and suffering. We simply fail to connect the dots. We don’t realize all chaos, no matter what it is, can be traced back to some action that we performed that was rooted in ego.
Why do we not connect the dots? Why do we not see the underlying order and connection to human consciousness?
Because our slavery blinds us.
May we all achieve true freedom this year and may all people, of all nations experience the healing Light of the Creator so that peace will dawn eternally.