136. Come and behold, throughout the night that Sarah was with Pharaoh, the supernal angels came to chant songs and praises before the Holy One, blessed be He. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to them, Go all of you and inflict great plagues upon Egypt, so that these plagues will be a sign and an omen of what I will do in the future. As it is written, "And Hashem plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues" (Beresheet 12:17).
137. Come and behold, it is written, "And Pharaoh called Abraham" (Beresheet 12:18). HE ASKS, How did he know THAT SARAH IS ABRAHAM'S WIFE; it is not written here as it is about Abimelech, "Now therefore restore the man's wife, for he is a prophet" (Beresheet 20:7). Here, THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, said nothing to Pharaoh!
138. Rabbi Yitzchak said, But it is written, "Because of Sarah, Abraham's wife." For so THE ANGELS said 'because of Sarah, Abraham's wife.' Because THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, did not speak with him as he did with Abimelech. So only these words were said and no more, This plague is "because of Sarah, Abraham's wife." And even this was not said by THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, BUT BY THE ANGELS WHO SMOTE HIM. And then he knew that she was Abraham's wife, so it is written, "And Pharaoh called Abraham."
139. "And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him." HE ASKS, Why did he do so? AND HE SAYS, So that nobody would come near them and harm them. "And they sent him away" means that they prepared an escort to accompany him through Egypt. The Holy One, blessed be He, said TO PHARAOH, This is what you shall do in the future to his children; you shall escort them out of your land. As it is written, "And it came to pass, when Pharaoh let the people go" (Shemot 13:17) - meaning that he escorted them throughout his entire country."
140. Rabbi Aba asked, Why did this happen to Abraham? For what reason did he have to go through it all? AND HE SAID, "So that Abraham and Sarah would achieve great fame in the eyes of the world. So that even in Egypt, which has the greatest magicians from whom nobody can be saved, Abraham was still able to rise high and be elevated. Therefore, it is written, "And Abraham went up out of Egypt" (Beresheet 13:1). Where to? "To the Negev," THAT IS, TO HIS PREVIOUS LEVEL.
141. Rabbi Shimon said, Come and behold, Everything is in accordance with the secret of Wisdom. The verse here alludes to Chochmah (Wisdom) and grades below - REFERRING TO THE GRADES OF THE EGYPTIANS, WHO DRAW DOWN CHOCHMAH. And Abraham went down to these great depths and knew them all, but did not attach himself to them. Rather, he returned to his Master.
142. And he was not enticed by them, as was Adam, who, when he reached that same level, was enticed by the serpent and brought death upon the whole world. And Abraham was not enticed as was Noah, of whom, when he went down to that grade, it is written, "And he drank of the wine and was drunken, and he was uncovered within his tent (Heb. ohaloh)" (Beresheet 9:21). Ohaloh is spelled with an additional Hei, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF 'A STRANGE WOMAN.'
143. But what is written about Abraham? "And Abraham went up out of Egypt." That he went up - not down - and returned to his place, to the supernal grade to which he was previously attached. This action came to reveal Wisdom; he deserved to reach full perfection because he was not enticed BY THE EGYPTIANS; rather he remained entirely steadfast and returned to his place. "The Negev" means the south, CHESED OF ZEIR ANPIN. THIS IS the supernal grade to which he first cleaved. As it is written, "And Abraham journeyed, going on still toward the Negev" (Beresheet 12:9). So here as well, "to the Negev" MEANS to the grade to which he had previously cleaved.
144. Come and behold the secret of this matter, Had Abraham not gone down to Egypt and been purified, his destiny would not have been attached to the Holy One, blessed be He. And the same thing happened to his children, when the Holy One, blessed be He, wanted to join them to one nation - one perfect and complete nation - and bring them near to Him. Had they not gone to Egypt first and been purified, they would not have become His one nation.
145. In the same manner, had the Holy Land not been given at first to the Cna'anites (spelling) and had they not ruled over it, then this land would not have been destined to become the portion and lot of the Holy One, blessed be He; it is all the same secret.