Question: The Torah describes Egypt as a country of abundance for our ego. Where today is this “Egypt” with all its abundance?
Answer: Indeed, the sons of Israel cried in the desert for that rich food they ate in Egypt. That land was like an overflowing cup. After all, “Nile” is a name for the Light of Hochma, which fills the egoistic desire fully.
In this manner, Egypt offered material abundance, and moreover, rewarded the sons of Israel, the people going along the spiritual path, with the Land of Goshen, the richest of its territories where one could live in prosperity. It is no coincidence that they multiplied in Egypt since egoistic desire lives in bliss and fattens there.
But the problem is that one day a “new king” rises over Egypt and suddenly I discover that egoism reigns over me, and its power is my yoke. And it is then that the sons of Israel cried out from their work: “Take away all this abundance, I don’t want it, for me, this isn’t life. What do I get from all these fortunes if I’m sinking into despair and helplessness and don’t know what I live for?” One would think, just forget about it and enjoy. But no, I cannot. And it’s not that I’m not trying: I simply can’t, and that’s that.
And this is the “new King of Egypt” that now reigns over me and shows me that my life is bad. In this way Pharaoh brings the sons of Israel closer to the Creator. They themselves cannot move a single step, but Pharaoh causes them to feel empty, to despair of life with all its fortunes. They build the cities of Pithom and Ramses; in other words, they try to succeed by working in an egoistic desire: a new car, an exotic vacation, and so on. But the result is an even greater void of emptiness. It gives nothing to the “sons of Israel” inside me.
If a few hundred years ago you gave to a common person what the poor have today, to him it would’ve seemed as wealth: You have a place to live and sleep, you have a table and a chair, you have bread and some food in the refrigerator, you’re not dying of hunger and can at least somehow feed yourself. However, the egoistic desire grew and now does not feel satisfaction from material things. Instead, it ends up in “Egypt,” in spiritual need. It’s no coincidence that in the prosperous Scandinavian countries there’s such a high rate of suicide, while in Africa, people die of starvation but they don’t try to kill themselves.
Thus, Egypt is abundance over which reigns a growing feeling of emptiness. This is exactly what is happening with our world. In essence, the world is moving towards exodus from Egypt, since it no longer needs this Pharaoh who brings misfortune, with whom it is impossible to cope, and who brings one into despair and helplessness. Seemingly, everything is in abundance, but we feel helpless in the face of modern problems. As a result, people are ready to exit Egypt, even though they don’t understand what they’re exiting and where they’re going.
In the same way, the people of Israel weren’t aware of what was happening and screamed to Moses “Where are you dragging us? What are you plotting against the Pharaoh? Why do you force us to run away through all this misfortune?” They didn’t want this escape at all, but Moses and Aaron, that is, the Cohens, arranged it for them from above.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/11/12, “The Arvut (Mutual Guarantee)”