Tag Archives: Ten Utterances

Secrets of the Ten Plagues & the Passover Seder (Video)

What was the deeper purpose behind the Ten Plagues in ancient Egypt and how did they parallel the Ten Utterances of Creation? How do these correspond to the ten items of the Passover seder? And how do the 14 steps of the Passover seder parallel the 14 key steps of Creation? Find out in this eye-opening class where we also explore the paschal offering and the Temple Mount, how Hillel rose to the presidency of the Sanhedrin, plus the great mystery behind consuming the karpas vegetable – and what does it have to do with the soul of Mashiach?

On the issue of ascending the Temple Mount today, see here.
For more on Shabbat haGadol, see here.

Torah and Evolution

*Note: the discussion below may be of a sensitive nature for some. Please read with an open mind, and please commit to reading it all the way to the end.

When reading the Torah’s first portion, Beresheet, one inevitably thinks of the origins of this universe, particularly of cosmology and cosmogony, as well as of astronomy, biology, genealogy, and ancient human history. Some of the biggest questions of faith are intricately tied with this parasha: How exactly did the universe come about? How old is the universe? Where did life come from, and what force stands behind the marvelous biodiversity in nature? The former two questions have been addressed in the past (see ‘Torah on the Big Bang and the Age of the Universe’). Now we shall look at perhaps the most controversial subject within the “Torah vs. Science” debate, and a subject that is poorly understood both in the religious world and in the secular world—evolution. Continue reading

Ten Sefirot: A Brief History

The Sefirot of mochin above (in blue) and the Sefirot of the middot below (in red) on the mystical “Tree of Life”.

This week, in parashat Yitro, we read the Ten Commandments. As with all other things that are ten in the Torah, the Ten Commandments correspond neatly to the Ten Sefirot. Just as the first three of the Sefirot are on a higher plane, referred as the mochin, the first three of the Commandments are also distinct and relate directly to God (to know there is a God, to have no other gods or idols, and not to take God’s Name in vain). We saw a similar division of ten into groups of three and seven in the Ten Plagues, where the first seven are read in parashat Va’era, and the final three in parashat Bo. Likewise, we find a division of ten into three and seven in the very first case of ten: the Ten Utterances of Creation.

As our Sages famously teach, God created the entire universe through Ten Utterances (Avot 5:1). When we look in the first chapter of Genesis at the account of Creation, we find the expression “And God said” exactly 10 times. It was through these Ten Utterances that God brought the entire cosmos into existence. It is important to note that the last instance of “And God said” (1:29) is really just a continuation of the ninth instance (1:28). The actual remaining Utterance is the first word of the Torah: Beresheet. This word itself was the First Utterance, and was the initial burst of energy that brought a dark universe into existence. The Second Utterance was “Let there be light”, and the Third was “Let there be a firmament”. While the first three clearly involve grand cosmic developments, the remaining seven Utterances all relate specifically to Earth.

Of course, all of the above tens correspond to the Ten Sefirot, the first emanations that emerged out of God’s Infinite Ein Sof. The Ten Sefirot permeate all of existence, which is why we find so many patterns of ten in the Torah and all around us in Creation. The notion of Ten Sefirot is a foundational and inseparable part of Judaism, yet few are aware of where all the information about the Sefirot came from! It is commonly thought that the Sefirot were first revealed by the Zohar, but this is highly inaccurate. Discussion of the Sefirot dates back centuries before the first publication of the Zohar. So, let’s take a brief trip back in time to explore the historical revelation of the Sefirot. Continue reading