The Ten Plagues

The ten plagues can be interpreted


to the classical Ten Sefirot model

in reverse.

Seven in Parshat Va'eira -  וארא

from Malchut to Chesed

(the modalities of the emotions)

Three in the following Parshat Bo

from Bina to Keter.

(the modalities of

the intellect and beyond)

The Plagues come to attack and rectify

the bad and evil energies trapped

in the Ten Sefirot of Impurity

by Pharaoh in Hebrew פרעה

whose letters can spell הערף

"the back of the neck"

and certainly apply to our own

יצר הרע or evil inclinations,

which is why we are called

"a stiff-necked people"

כִּי עַם קְשֵׁה עֹרֶף אַתָּה

(Exodus 33:3)

still dominated by the

mind sets and mental slavery

of Mitzrayim and the Galut.

The First Plague - Blood  -

דָם - Malchut


airbrushed acrylics on canvas
30" x 40" (76 x 102 cm)

The belief that Nature
(especially the Nile River)

can be controlled and "engineered"

 embodied the source of the Egyptian
arrogant confidence and security

and was therefore deified
as a power in and of itself
and revered as
the very source of life.
The bloody "slaughter"
of this concept
opened up the pagan mind
to the presence
of a Higher Master.

This arrogance
can also apply to those

fine liberal people יפי נפש
who love to imagine
they are drinking

from the cool clear
intellectual waters

of a creed of humanism
without God.

The plague reveals the "bluff"
of what is really behind all this -
their hot blood of anger,
particularly with whoever
disagrees with them.


The Second Plague - Frogs -

צְפַרְדֵעַ -  Yesod

havdalah #2

airbrushed acrylics on canvas
17" x 35"  (44 x 89 cm)

The plague of the Frogs
attempted to rectify
the fallen sephira of Yesod
caused by the
the debauched habits
of the Egyptians.
The frogs' cold slimy bodies
covered every inch of the land
and entered their houses
and even the bedrooms,
"cooling off" their lust
and sexual ardour
which was their raison d'etre.

The Third Plague - Lice - כִּנִים
  Hod (Acknowledge)


mixed materials on canvas
40" x 40" (102 x 102 cm)

When the plague of the dust
turning into lice occurred,
all of the magicians

that it was the “Finger of G-d”
אצבע אלו-הים
since regular magic
can not affect
such small creatures,
whereas Divine Providence
is in every aspect of creation.
The acknowledgement
of God's mastery
is the beginning
of true spiritual service
and should induce
a positive humility
that even if we are
like dust before Him,
we are still attached Him .
With the now
ego-deflated Egyptians

the dust turned into lice
causing a deep depression,
  a pseudo humility
which sucks out

a person's blood,
depriving him
his vitality and energy-flow

The Fourth Plague -
The Mixture of Wild Animals - 
- Netzach


airbrushed acrylics on canvas
27 1/2" x 36" (79 x 92 cm)

The fourth plague
to harass the Egyptians

consisted of hordes of wild animals
and also snakes and scorpions
roving all over the country and
destroying everything in their path.
That they attacked
in a "coordinated" way
like a disciplined army
was a tikun or rectification
to the Egyptian's evil Netzach 
which attempts to achieve
Victory at all costs
by deceitfully "orchestrating"
the events.
The Jewish use of Netzach נצח
is suggested
in many of the Psalms which begin
with the words: לַמְנַצֵּחַ מִזְמוֹר

A prayer by the
Conductor Orchestrator


The Fifth Plague - Pestilence - 
- Tiferet (Mercy)


 acrylics on canvas

The fifth plague
was a severe epidemic
on the cattle in the field,
but came with a prior warning,
showing the amelioration of
judgement with mercy and
the Egyptians who complied
were spared.
Only those who did not
were punished.
יַד י-ה-ו-ה ה-וֹיָה בְּמִקְנְךָ
(Exodus 9:3)
Behold the Hand of God
is on your cattle

This is hinted that
the merciful name of
was changed to
its permutation
which is associated
according to Sefer Yetzira

with the month
of Menachem Av,

the month of
severe judgement.

The Sixth Plague - Boils -

שְּׁחִין - Gevurah


mixed materials on canvas
24" x 18" (61 x 46 cm)

The plague of boils,
unlike the others,
came without a mitigating warning
and applied to all of the Egyptians
wherever they were and
who were made numb from the pain.
indicating a
terrible gevurah or severity
from which very few recovered.

That is why we must pray
daily to be protected
from debilitating illnesses
which put us into a condition
where we are unable to beg
for salvation.

The Seventh Plague - Hail - 

בָּרָד - Chesed


polymer emulsions on canvas
  27 1/2" x 19 1/2" (70 x 50 cm)

The plague of Hail בָרָד
was strongly aligned
with Chesed

since the Egyptians
were given a day's warning

to secure their livestock
in shelters beforehand,

any man or beast left
in the open would die.

The Hail was quite
miraculous and destructive
in that within the large icy balls
burned a blazing flame,
the normally opposing elements of
Fire and Water
now working together. 
וַיְהִי בָרָד וְאֵשׁ מִתְלַקַּחַת בְּתוֹךְ הַבָּרָד

(Exodus 9:34)
Many of the Egyptians
followed the warning,
but this was ultimately
applied against Israel,
since the surviving horses
were used
with Pharaoh's chariots
to attack the Israelites at
the encounter by the Red Sea.

There is also a lesson for us
with regards to the
"selective" destruction
of the plants:
only those with strong
unbending stems or trunks
were destroyed,
 by contrast what survived
were the supple and flexible
(a trait of tsuvah and repenting).

The Eighth Plague - Locusts -
-  Bina


polymer emulsions on canvas
  27 1/2" x 19 1/2" (70 x 50 cm)

"And the locusts went up
over all the land of Egypt
and they chewed
up all the plants"
(Exodus 10: 13-15)
Chewing and processing
our received phenomena
is a kabbalah analogy
to the sephira of Bina -

This is the ability
of intellectual inquiry:
the approach of the Talmud.
It allows us
to explore the universe,
improve our lives and discover
the higher moral calling
of the human family.
Yet the very same power may
serve as a tool to rationalize
every evil practiced
under the face of the sun,
and to justify
every destructive lifestyle or habit.
leaving in its wake
a desolate society
"The Wasteland"
bereft of spiritual values
and absolute principles.

The Ninth Plague - Darkness -

חֹשֶׁךְ - Chachma


acrylics on canvas
37" x 37"  (94 x 94 cm)

There was a thick darkness

in all the land of Egypt
three days;

they saw not one another,
neither rose any from his place;
but all the children of Israel
had Light in their dwellings.
(Exodus 10: 21-24)
The Light in the Darkness
(of the Mind
is the kabbalah analogy
to the sephira of
Chachma- חכמה

This can be understood
as the ability

to accept new ideas and concepts
that emerge
from the supra-conscious.

The arrogant Egyptians
(and with them many
"assimilated" Jews)

with their fixed mindsets
could not change
and accept a new input

and thus remained
in the darkness.

The Tenth Plague - The First Born -

בכורות - Keter


airbrushed acrylics on canvas
40" x 30" (102 x 76 cm)

This terrible plague
can be understood
the basic Biblical context of
"measure for measure"
מידה כנגד מידה

(How you mistreat others,
so will be the retribution.)

God declared that
"Israel is My first-born"

(Exodus 4:22) בְּנִי בְכֹרִי יִשְׂרָאֵל

Yet Pharaoh wished
to enslave them
 for all eternity, thus it is fitting
that God would punish him
by killing
all of Egypt's first-born sons.

See also Sefer Yetzira

Jewish Holidays

Living with the Parsha

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