Turning A Snake Into A Staff

Dr. Michael LaitmanIn Moses’ standoff with Pharaoh we reveal the unique nature of our spiritual work. We work with our egoism, the will to receive; we don’t cancel it out, but rather cultivate and develop it.

It is written: “I created the evil inclination, and I created the Torah as a spice for it.” The Torah is only a spice for the egoistic desire: a little pepper, a dab of salt for all of this big meal called egoism, the will to receive pleasure. Indeed, what do we lack? We only have to add some Torah to turn the entire enormous egoism into the world of Infinity.

The form of authentic spiritual work is turning the staff into a snake and the snake into a staff. It all depends on how a person employs all of his attributes and predispositions. He destroys neither the good nor the evil ones and renounces none of his capacities! He must only modify the way he is using them.

If a person throws the staff on the group, it turns into a snake; and if he grabs the snake by the tail, it turns into a staff which helps him to move forth. The staff (Maté) derives from the Hebrew word “below” (Máta), meaning that a person reduces himself and with the help of the force regarded as “faith above reason,” elevates his egoism, the property of Malchut, to the property of Bina.

Each time, in the ten impure Sefirot, the ten manifestations of Pharaoh, he experiences an increasingly greater egoism that he can reform by way of ten Egyptian plagues. A person who is in the state of exodus from Egypt is willing to go through all of the 10 plagues. By using the staff, He himself causes the blows that strike him and help him rise above egoism.

He views these blows as medicine. Similarly, we are willing to take any painful and unpleasant treatment in order to get well again.
From the Lesson on Weekly Torah Portion 23/12/2011

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