Bo: Chapter 3

The crocodiles


Rabbi Shimon speaks about "Behold, I am against you, Pharaoh, king of Egypt, the great crocodile that couches in the midst of his streams." He explains that God brought Moses into the innermost rooms to see the secret of the great crocodile, from where many levels evolve and descend. As Moses was afraid, God had to wage war with the crocodile Himself. Rabbi Shimon turns to, "And Elohim created the great crocodiles (Heb. taninim) and every living soul that crawls the waters swarmed forth according to their kinds." He says that the crocodiles are the Leviathan and his spouse. God killed the female, leaving only the male - otherwise the world could not have survived. "The streams" in the scripture are the nine rivers that he lies in, corresponding to the nine Sfirot. The crocodile comes into the river Keter whose waters are serene and quiet, which strengthens the river. Rabbi Shimon describes the rise and flow of the rivers, the emergence of the ten rivers including Keter, and the nine crocodiles, one in each river. There is a long description of the implications of the correspondence between the ten crocodiles and the ten acts of creation in Beresheet. The grasses beside the rivers are explained to be the light that sprouts from the sowing of the confined hidden light. Rabbi Shimon says that "And Elohim said, 'Let there be luminaries in the firmaments of the heavens'" refers to the Piercing Serpent that tempted Eve. Since this serpent is on dry land it always triumphs when it battles the crocodile that is in the water.