106. "And Abraham went down to Egypt to sojourn there" (Beresheet 12:10). Why did he go down to Egypt? Because it looked like the garden of Hashem, NAMELY THE GARDEN OF EDEN. As it is written, "like the garden of Hashem, like the land of Egypt..." (Beresheet 13:10). Because a river flows down on the right, as it is written, "The name of the first is Pishon; that is it which encompasses the whole land of Chavilah, where there is gold" (Beresheet 2:11).
107. So Abraham achieved knowledge and complete faith, WHICH REFERS TO THE NUKVA OF ZEIR ANPIN, WHICH IS CALLED FAITH. IT WAS CALLED COMPLETE FAITH AFTER IT HAD BEEN COMPLETED BY THE ILLUMINATION OF CHOCHMAH, FROM THE ASPECT OF BINAH THAT RETURNED TO CHOCHMAH. Abraham then wanted to become familiar with all the grades that are attached below. THIS IS A REFERENCE TO THOSE WHO CAN PASS ON THE ABUNDANCE FROM ABOVE DOWNWARDS, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF CHOCHMAH OF THE RIGHT COLUMN. And Egypt came from the right; FROM THE ASPECT OF THE RIVER OF PISHON, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF CHOCHMAH OF THE RIGHT COLUMN. Because of this, he went down to Egypt TO COLLECT ALL THE HOLY SPARKS, FROM THE ASPECT OF CHOCHMAH OF THE RIGHT COLUMN AND GET THEM OUT OF THERE. AFTER ACCOMPLISHING THIS, HE RETURNED TO THE LAND OF YISRAEL. THUS HE WAS FULL AND COMPLETED BY THE MOCHIN OF CHOCHMAH. Come and behold, famine only comes to the land when Mercy leaves Judgment. THIS MEANS WHEN ZEIR ANPIN, WHO IS THE SECRET OF MERCY, DEPARTS FROM THE NUKVA, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF JUDGMENT. BECAUSE THEN THE MATING OF THE MALE AND FEMALE IS DISTURBED, AND FAMINE IS FELT IN THE NUKVA, WHICH IS CALLED THE LAND.
108. "And it came to pass, when he came (lit. 'caused to come') near to enter to Egypt..." (Beresheet 12:11). Rabbi Elazar said that THE VERSE STATES, "when he caused to come near," whereas it should have stated, 'When he came near.' Why does it say, "When he caused to come near?" This is similar to the verse, "And Pharaoh caused to come close..." (Shemot 14:10), WHICH MEANS that he brought Yisrael to come near to repentance. The same applies here, and so "caused to come near" MEANS THAT he brought himself to come near to the Holy One, blessed be He, as should properly be. "To enter into Egypt," MEANS to observe those grades, LOCATED IN EGYPT, and keep his distance from them, as well as to keep his distance from the worshippers of Egypt.
109. Rabbi Yehuda said, Come and behold, since he went down to Egypt without consent, his offspring were enslaved in Egypt for four hundred years. As it is written, "and Abraham went down to Egypt." It does not say THAT THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, TOLD HIM, 'Go down to Egypt!' THEREFORE, he was in misery all that night because of Sarah.
110. "And he said to Sarah his wife, 'Behold, now I know that you are a fair woman to look upon'" (Beresheet 12:11). AND HE ASKS, Could it be that until then Abraham did not know that she was a "fair woman to look upon?" AND HE REPLIES, This has already been explained - that until then he did not look upon the image of Sarah, because of their excessive modesty with each other. But when he "came near to enter to Egypt," she revealed herself, and he saw her.
111. Another explanation for why he knew ONLY THEN THAT SHE WAS A FAIR WOMAN TO LOOK UPON is that most people are affected by the hardship of the journey, but Sarah remained beautiful and her appearance did not change. THIS IS HOW HE KNEW MORE THAN EVER THAT SHE IS A FAIR WOMAN TO LOOK UPON. Another explanation of the words, "Behold, now I know..." is that Abraham saw the Shechinah accompanying Sarah, WHICH MEANS THAT HE HAD THE MERIT OF THE REVELATION OF THE SHECHINAH. For this reason, Abraham felt confident and said, "She is my sister."
112. The phrase, "MY SISTER," has two meanings. The first is literal - NAMELY, THAT YOU ARE MY SISTER. The second is figurative, as in the verse, "Say to wisdom; you are my sister." (Mishlei 7:4). It also is written, "Say, I pray you, you are my sister" (Beresheet 12:13). THE WORD 'YOU' ALLUDES TO THE SHECHINAH. And it is also written, "Speak you to us" (Devarim 5:24), WHICH ALSO ALLUDES TO THE SHECHINAH. In addressing the Shechinah, he said, "That it may be well with me for your sake," WHICH MEANS FOR THE SAKE OF THE SHECHINAH, and also "my soul shall live because of you," because, as a result of this, REFERRING TO THE MOCHIN OF CHOCHMAH, a person is elevated up to the path of life, SINCE THE LIGHT OF CHOCHMAH IS CALLED THE LIGHT OF CHAYAH, AS IS ALREADY KNOWN!
113. "Say, I pray you, you are my sister..." Rabbi Yesa said, Abraham knew that all the Egyptians are lecherous. Since he knew this, how come he was not afraid for his wife and did not return back from this journey and refrain from entering there? AND HE REPLIES, Because he saw that she was accompanied by the Shechinah; THEREFORE HE HAD CONFIDENCE IN HER AND HAD NO FEAR!