Shemot: Chapter 5

Three who reject the Shechinah


This section discusses the three types of people who drive the Shechinah from this world and make it impossible for God to fix His abode here, thereby causing prayers to go unanswered. These people are, those who cohabit with women during menstruation, those who lie with heathens, and those who intentionally abort the embryo, thereby preventing it from coming to fruition. The world is Judged for these sins, we are told, and meets with war, famine, and pestilence as a result. We learn that, in exile, the children of Israel remained free of such sins and fulfilled the commandment to increase and multiply. Consequently, they were worthy of liberation. Indeed, Rabbi Chiya discusses the verse, "And he made the laver of brass..." as an indication of the purity of the Israelite women in Egypt, whose ritual ablutions and eagerness to obtain husbands made them worthy of great honor.


Profound and penetrating forces of spiritual purification flow from this mystical passage. The darkness caused by the iniquities spoken of in this section of the Zohar is expelled from the world. Negative desires are purged from our hearts. The truth of the Creator and an awareness of the spiritual laws governing our world propagate throughout humanity as our eyes gaze upon these sacred words.