The following are my notes to two Chassidic discourses by Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson delivered on 11 Nissan and Acharon Shel Pesach (final day of Passover) 5734 (1974).
To read my notes on the book Click Here or scroll down – I downloaded the note taking template from Ali Abdaal, which he talks about here.
🚀 The Book in 3 Sentences
Exodus from Egypt occurred in its original event, commemorated every year on Passover, it occurs daily in our personal lives breaking through our own limitations (in The Shema Prayer), and as it will occur to a greater degree in the Messianic Era.
A persons personal Egypt consist of the limiting bodily habits, thought patterns, and predispositions, as well as the "perspectives of larger society," including our family and neighbors, and even limitation by the Godly soul itself (which is what the first discourse address).
By comparing the miracles of the Messianic era to that the Jews experienced during exile from Egypt, it presents the magnitude of the redemptive period. The miracles the Jewish nation experienced on their exile from Egypt were there to prepare them for the receiving of the Torah. It also demonstrated the great revelations from the highest level to the lowest level that were opened at the splitting of the sea.
This short yet spiritually dense discourse is illuminates deep insights into the Torah and its events, as described with the Exodus from Egypt and the miracle of the Splitting of the Sea of Reeds.
How I Discovered It
At Jumbo Judaica when buying a book (the Hagaddah) for my father for his 69th birthday. It caught my attention, so I bought it to learn for Passover 5781/2021.
Who Should Read It?
Anyone interested in learning about breaking through personal barriers expressed through Torah, Chassidut, and Kabbalah.
☘️ How the Book Changed Me
💡 How my life / behaviour / thoughts / ideas have changed as a result of reading the book.
It never occurred to me that G-d could have created any miracle to save the Israelites… Why would G-d choose to split the Sea, as it is said: He transformed the sea to dry land? Beyond the miracle occurring to save the Children of Israel, it has a deeper meaning... [finished below]
From my blog, "The Sea Split, So What?"
When the Sea of Reeds split all the other seas split as well, giving insight that this event opened up all levels of Godliness from the highest - before the order of the Universe - to the lowest (this world). This is expressed in how the Yam Hakadmoni (the primordial sea) split and the Yam Suf (the sea of Reeds) split. Suf is spelled with the same letters as Sof, which means end. This shows that when the Sea of Reeds split, all levels of revelation were opened up and trickling down, so to speak, from the highest level to the lowest level of reality.
By shifting one's perspective and understanding that G-d is the Master of the world then limitations are no longer perceived as limitations but created by the word of G-d. This perception brings about the dissolution of the perceived limitation.
The Sea of Reeds is not in the pathway of Egypt to Israel. When the Jews went through the splitting of the sea they exited on the same side they entered on, like a semi-circle (as I drew in the picture below). It is said that G-d did not intend for the splitting of the sea to kill the Egyptians. Rather, the main purpose of this miracle was to prepare the Jewish people for the receiving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. Since it was happening for this reason, G-d also used it to destroy the Egyptians. In personalizing this information, I understood this that sometimes when we make a transformation our lives we may 'cross the river of change' but really when we exit we return in the same place but in a new state of being - we see familiar places and things in new ways because we changed.
✍️ My Top Quotes
The calculations made by the body and the animal soul about what they do or do not enjoy
God gives us material bounty, and we transform the material into spirituality — R. Schneur Zalman of Liadi (pg. 56)
📒 Summary + Notes
More than just a geographical region, Egypt represents any obstacle that limits our ability to be our real selves and reach our true potential. When we succeed and break free of our own limitations, we are liberated from our own Egypt, and experience our own Exodus. For this sentiment to endure, we, too, must pass through the sea on dry land, which refers to bringing awareness of G-d even to areas where it had previously been concealed.
#1 - 11 Nissan, 5734
In every generation, one must view himself as if he left Egypt, as the verse states (Exodus 13:8), Because of this, G-d acted on my behalf when I left Egypt.
In every generation And everyday - Rebbe Schneur Zalman of Liadi
So that you shall remember the day you left the land of Egypt all (daytime, nigh time, and Messianic time) the days of your life
Three levels of Exodus - Past, Present, Future
Present — you shall tell your children on that day: Because of this (pointing to Matzah (Torah and Mitzvot) and Marror (bitter influences)) G-d acted on my behalf when I left Egypt. It occurs daily when we recite Shema Yisroel... as explained further later
Future — I will show you wonders as during the days you left Egypt.
The events must be interconnected if juxtaposed.
the glory of G-d will be revealed and all flesh together will see that the mouth of G-d has spoken
A mouth represents authority - a king rules through speech 🤴🏻. Creation is seen as spoken words
Egypt: Limitations and Boundaries
The hebrew word for Egypt is Mitzrayim 🇪🇬. Mitzrayim is related to the word Meitzarim, limitations and boundaries ⛓️
How was it possible for a place like this to exist❓
Tzimtzum Harishon The discourse explains concepts of Tzimtzum Harishon, the initial contraction of Divine Energy. G-d's Divine Light is unlimited so in order for it to come down into this physical world it has to be contracted. ☀️ Using the sun as an analogy, humans only receive rays of Sunlight from the sun, otherwise the radiance of the sun would be too great for us to exist. In its journey to earth the light is contracted in a way that enables existence to be. The light is also blocked by screens or curtains that dim the glow seeping through.
The tzimtzum is followed by limited revelations of Divine Light
It descended so low that Egypt was able to come into being Kabbalah explains that the Divine attribute of gevurah (severity) is associated with tzimtzum harishon because it concealed **the light, while allowing it to be revealed is *chesed (*kindness)
Spiritual Exodus 🧘🏻
When we serve G-d without limitations and restraints, we cause all limitations and restraints in the world at large to disappear as well
I think the use of serve means **living in alignment with G-d, or as a waiter acts as the medium between chef and customer
Love the Lord your G-d with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might —To love God with all your might means beyond limitations, beyond our intellect - all constraints made by society, bodily habits, and limiting beliefs.
💡 By shifting one's perspective and understanding that G-d is the Master of the world then limitations are no longer perceived as limitations but created by the word of G-d. This perception brings about the dissolution of the perceived limitation.
Serving God with all your might is synonymous with the spiritual idea of the Exodus.
Longing of the Body and Soul
My flesh and my heart long [for you]; G-d is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26)
To truly fulfill the will of God to perfection, we must Love Him with all our heart and soul, and all our might — Maggid of Mezritch
Nothing but the King 👑
I do not want Your Gan Eden; I do not want Your Olam Haba; all I want is Your Yourself — Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi in a state of spiritual ecstasy
Relevant to All
By sharing it with his followers it shows that this level is achievable, even to a small degree, to all otherwise it would not be shared.
Shema: A Spiritual Journey🙈
It is upon reciting the first verse of the Shema that we leave all restrictions and limitations in dedication to G-d and His Torah and Mitzvot. The first verse is You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.
To love God With all your might [is to] break through all barriers in our service of God.
Torah, Prayer, And Charity — Unrestrained
All this can help understand the verse, I will show you wonders as during the days you left Egypt.
The world is supported by these 3 things.
We will continue to mention the Exodus from Egypt in the era of Moshiach.
Prior to Messianic times the approach to purifying the animal soul and directing it towards the service of God is known as Itkafya (controlling the selfish impulses). Yet, in the Messianic times, there is It'hapcha, which means transformation. It'hapcha refers to mastering the desires of the animal soul, "so the animal soul itself loves G-d."
Although with itkafya the animal soul has not been transformed to holiness (unlike it'hapcha), G-d derives a unique pleasure from our efforts to subdue the animalistic passions while they are still in full force. For this reason, our present efforts will have value even in the era of Moshiach **— footnote 97
Maamar #2 - Acharon Shel Pesach (final day of Passover) 5734 (1974)
G-d will dry up the Bay of the Sea of Egpyt... He will strike it [and split it] into seven streams... It will be a path for the remnant of His nation... As it was for Israel on the day [Israel] went up from the Land of Egypt.
Splitting of the Future
I will show you miracles "As it was for Israel on the day Israel went up from the land of Egypt." (Isaiah 1:15-16)
"On that day... half of the will flow to the eastern sea."
The Splitting of the Sea occurs as it did in the initial splitting, the present day as it occurs each year, and as it will in the future redemption.