Shemot: Chapter 13

"Now there arose a new king"


This section begins with an interpretation of "Now there arose a new king," found in the book of Rabbi Hamnuna Saba. From this, we learn that the rise to power of any nation is a result of the subjugation of the children of Yisrael, as seen in the examples of Egypt, Babylon, and Rome. This is because the nation of Yisrael is equal to all the other nations combined, and therefore when a nation dominates the children of Yisrael, it's celestial chieftain gains dominion over the chieftains of the other nations.YisraelAccording to Rabbi Chiya, the impending rise or fall of a nation is announced on earth through small children, simple-minded people and the behavior of birds thirty days before the event. While these proclamations usually go unnoticed, if a nation is deserving, the leaders receive news of the imminent disaster so that they can call their people to repent and return to God while there is still time. When a nation falls from power, Rabbi Yitzchak explains, God first punishes its celestial representative. The chieftain passes through a River of Fire, and his power vanishes; then the event is proclaimed above, and later below. This relates to Rabbi Yosi's profound experience, which he describes to Rabbi Elazar, Rabbi Aba, and Rabbi Yehuda while they sit at the gate of Lydda. That morning, Rabbi Yosi tells them, a bird informed him of the raising up of three rulers on earth, and the deposing of an existing ruler. When asked about their identity, the bird threw down three arrows from his right wing, and one from his left wing. On examining these arrows, Rabbi Elazar interprets their significance as an indication of the impending domination of the Egyptians and the children of Israel by three great rulers in Rome. Three children who pass by the Rabbis in succession and announce imminent doom for Egypt reinforce this interpretation. This leads to a discussion of the importance of sages, without whom man would not be able to understand the Torah or God's Commandments.YisraelFinally, Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Shimon discuss "Now there arose a new king," revealing that the "new king" is a reference to the Pharaoh who, like Achashverosh, "arose" through the power of his wealth, and not because he was worthy.


When we are enslaved to our own ego, addicted to our materialistic and primal desires, this spiritual reality is reflected in the physical world. In personal terms, the negative attributes and dark side of our nature become strengthened, empowered, rising to new heights of influence ("Now there arose a new king"). Globally, the Children of Yisrael will then find themselves in exile under the rule of another superpower nation. The great Light that shines in a person's soul is then transferred to the governing nation, allowing it to achieve greatness in the world.

When, however, we truly transform our desires from selfish receiving into a genuine desire to share and impart to others, we find our own spiritual greatness. We are liberated. The entire nation of Yisrael rises to great heights, no longer in exile or under the rule of a foreign nation. The other nations of the world subsequently cherish the Children of Yisrael, for they are now receiving their spiritual sustenance.

Here, we elevate the Children of Yisrael (any human being who embraces the spiritual wisdom of the Torah and Zohar) to their ultimate spiritual prominence. The negative forces of darkness dwelling in the Upper Worlds lose their power. Likewise, evil disintegrates here on Earth. Evil nations crumble, corruption ceases, and all humanity recognizes the common spark of divinity that binds all mankind.

Our ego is abolished at the very seed level of its existence. The supernal source of the human ego, the angel called Satan, is crushed and conquered. The nations of the world hold Yisrael dear to their hearts as peace permeates the planet and famine is banished from the planet.

Though we may not be worthy of this miraculous Redemption and transformation, we achieve it on the merit of the sages who love and care for us unconditionally. Their extraordinary Light is ignited with each letter and word of the Zohar that our eyes touch.